Posted: Thursday, September 7, 2023. 6:40 am CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: In a report by 7 News Belize, the Central Bank of Belize’s governor, Kareem Michael, has officially addressed concerns regarding the undue fees commercial banks levy on consumers. As the main regulatory body, the Central Bank is stepping in to defend consumers from what many deem as unreasonable and unjust charges to access their own funds.
For many Belizeans, the fees associated with routine banking transactions have become a recurrent pain point. Whether it’s a trip to the ATM, an in-person visit to a bank counter, or conducting an online transaction, consumers often find themselves dishing out more money than expected. And it seems the Central Bank shares this sentiment.
During a press briefing – the first of its kind by the Central Bank – a reporter questioned the governor on the bank’s stance regarding these supplementary charges. Michael revealed that the Central Bank has crafted a “practice direction” set to come into play by December. This move is aimed squarely at those bank charges deemed “unfair or excessive.”
“We have developed a practice direction that should come into effect in December that will target some of these fees that we have deemed as unfair or excessive,” explained Michael. He further elaborated, “If you go to an ATM, you’re charged; if you opt for an over-the-counter service, it’s $2; and online transactions can range between 2-11 dollars depending on the type of transaction. This is not a practice the central bank should tolerate.”
The governor also pointed out a specific practice by Belize Bank, which remains the sole institution to charge its depositors fifty cents for ATM withdrawals.
This significant move by the Central Bank is set to usher in a new era of fair banking practices in Belize. As the December deadline looms, consumers wait with bated breath to see how commercial banks will respond. For many, this is a step in the right direction, potentially offering some financial relief in the often-daunting world of banking.
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