SOUTH African-owned First National Bank (FNB) has come under fierce attack for exhorbitant including charging for depositing money.
And the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has also been criticized for failing to investigate and take action against the bank even after receiving numerous complaints from members of public.
Earlier BoZ announced that it was probing FNB over the allegations but made dramatic U-turn by issuing a statement denying it was investigating the bank
But adding voice of concern to the practice, Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) Ackim Mweemba said it was wrong form commercial bank to stress their customers by way of charging them further even when they were already being charged for other services.
‘’It’s not a good trend for those banks doing that because that would be killing customers in some way.
We know that there are other charges such as for book balance which the customers are subjected to already,’’ he said.
Meanwhile Mr. Mweemba said the increase in statutory reserve to banks from 14 percent to 18 percent by Bank of Zambia (BOZ) might be one of the factors contributing to the high rates charged by financial institutions
He said this in reaction to complaints from members of public that some banks had high charging rates that were limiting them from accessing the services of the banks.
Mr Mweemba explained that because the development, banks did not have access to monies which were just lying idle at the BOZ thereby forcing them to translate the effect on customers through high charge rates.
“The BOZ in its quest to mop up some money increased statutory reserve from 14% to 18% and this has really damaged financial institutions.
They are trying to equalize by raising the rate charges hence in the process injuring their customers a situation which is unfortunate,” he said.
He called upon the authorities to consider reducing statutory reserve so as give relief to financial institutions that would in turn translate it to their customers. Mr Mweemba said generally the cost of doing business had become expensive and that there was need to take care of everyone to see how they could enjoy services offered by financial institutions.
“The cost of doing business in general has become expensive, so really we need to take care of everyone on board and see to it that everyone is able to access the good services offered by these financial institutions,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Mweemba has called on financial institutions in Zambia to devise a method that ensured people from rural areas were given fair charges in view of the low incomes they have by nature of their locality. Mr Mweemba said it was pertinent for financial institutions to make people’s lives better by coming up with initiatives to cater for people in the lower income bracket.
“It is important for financial institutions to consider those in rural areas looking at the fact that they have little money or capital to put in the banks. So if the rates are too high then we automatically knock them out of the whole system,” Mr Mweemba said.