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Bankers react to Premier’s ultimatum over fees and charges

Bankers last night reacted to the direct hit they took from government on Friday when David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance raised alarm on the floor of the House of Assembly at the escalating rise in bank fees and charges.

The Premier laid out an ultimatum for bankers to do something about the high cost of banking in Bermuda or the government would intervene.

The Premier’s strong remarks came as he introduced to the legislature the Banks and Deposit Companies Amendment Act 2022 to provide the Bermuda Monetary Authority the power to impose codes of conduct on how institutions conduct deposit-taking business.

Asked about the named concerns, the Bermuda Bankers Association responded Monday night that the various institutions were already looking at matters at issue, under the guidance of the financial services regulator.

They said discussions among the government, the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the bankers had already taken place.

But Friday the Premier raised concern about excessive over-the-limit charges on credit cards. He also complained that some local banking fees have increased by 400 per cent over the last three years, alone.

The association addressed none of the concerns directly. There was no clarification of the “400 per cent” claim or comment on the allegation of excessive credit card charges.

There was no direct address on the claim that Bermudians were still facing punitive practices of ongoing over-the-limit credit card charges – practices no longer seen in other jurisdictions.

The association response said: “The Bermuda Bankers Association has worked closely with the Bermuda Monetary Authority in its efforts to develop a code of conduct for banks. The BBA supports a principles-based customer protection standard for Bermuda.

“With respect to bank fees, the government was made aware of the BBA’s efforts, guided by the BMA, during a meeting with the Premier, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Acting Financial Secretary to enhance transparency and comparability of bank fees listed in our respective websites.

“We are continuing to refine this initiative with the BMA.

“Our members stand ready to continue the process and to receiving guidance and supervision from the BMA going forward.”

The Bermuda Bankers Association said the group has worked closely with the Bermuda Monetary Authority in its efforts to develop a code of conduct for banks.

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Published July 05, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated July 06, 2022 at 7:57 am)

Bankers react to Premier’s ultimatum over fees and charges

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