Customers outside a branch of National Commercial Bank
Nation's largest bank revises some fees after finance minister intervenes

FACING public backlash and chiding from both the prime minister and minister of finance about its recent decision to hike some fees, the National Commercial Bank (NCB) has announced a raft of changes.

The bank in a release late Thursday evening said that while the increased fees relate primarily to in-branch transactions and the processing of cheques and cash, it has decided to roll back the decision to charge customers for every withdrawal done at its machine.

Sheree Martin, head of retail banking and customer experience at NCB, said customers with regular savings accounts will now pay no fees for the first two withdrawals from NCB ATMs each month. That is a reversal from all attracting a fee as of January 3.

The bank further went on to indicate that customers with personal chequing accounts will get up to four free NCB ATM withdrawals per month. As usual, NCB customers will still pay to use non-NCB ATMs.

It also said that certain accounts such as its Quick Save account will attract no fees at NCB point-of-sales or ATMs. It said it will introduce new accounts in the coming weeks for low-income earners that will also not attract fees at its point-of-sale or ATMs. Gold Club members, or accounts for seniors, will also attract no fees including minimum balance charge.

“We have also taken the decision to waive the cheque encashment fee for amounts $15,000 and under,” Martin said.

She added that the fee roll-back is in response to the finance minister's request.

“We embrace the dialogue and appreciate the feedback from our customers, leaders and other stakeholders,” Martin said. “We are committed to continuing the dialogue to empower and inform our customers.”

NCB also pointed out that the updated fee and rate structure also includes the discontinuation of certain fees such as those for declined transactions and for balance enquiries done via ATMs, online, mobile app, kiosk and telebanking.

“The customers will continue to pay no fees for these services on the digital channels such as deposits, bill payments and funds transfers between their accounts and NCB third-party accounts,” NCB said.

The Observer reached out to the Scotiabank for its response as well.

Audrey Tugwell Henry, president and CEO of Scotiabank Jamaica, said the entity is currently reviewing the fees and will give a response today.

Finance Minister Nigel Clarke labelled the banks as tone-deaf when it comes to setting fees in the current environment, and without regard for low-income earners.

MARTIN...we embrace thedialogue and appreciate thefeedback from our customers,leaders, and other stakeholders
BY DASHAN HENDRICKS Business content manager

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