Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Banks slam Kamla over statements


port of spain
 
THE Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday knocked Opposition Leader Kamla-Persad Bissessar for statements she made regarding bank fees and charges.
In a letter to the Opposition leader, BATT said Persad-Bissessar seemed to have been misinformed when she cited that over 70 per cent of banks’ income was derived from fees and charges and that this figure was erroneous.
In her letter to BATT on Monday, Persad-Bissessar said the figure was taken from an economic bulletin published by the Central Bank. But BATT president Anya Schnoor responded yesterday: “We have indeed read with interest various statements in the press and other media and it appears to us that there are certain perceptions regarding bank fees and charges, which are either misinformed, or not founded on accurate information.
“The fact is bank fees as a percentage of total operating income for all banks ranges from 16 to 17 per cent, not 70 per cent as stated in your letter. In addition, interest spreads in banks are at their lowest levels in over a decade, with mortgage rates at their lowest level in three decades.”
Schnoor emphasised that this information was available in the very Central Bank publication Persad-Bissessar referenced, and from the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange where many of its BATT’s are listed.
“We are concerned that the misinformation and the hype being generated, unsupported by facts, can have a far reaching and indeed damaging effect on the stability of the financial sector,” Schnoor said. “At the end of the day, our banks exist to serve the public’s interest and the confidence our customers have in our individual institutions is a critical component of our continued ability to provide these services.”
As to the Opposition Leader’s call for a meeting with BATT, Schnoor suggested that Persad-Bissessar revisit the request after the Association has met with the Joint Select Committee of Parliament.
“You would be aware that Parliament has appointed a Joint Select Committee (JSC) to enquire into this topic and we have accepted the Committee’s invitation to meet to discuss the objectives of the enquiry. A date is still to be confirmed for this meeting. We welcome the opportunity to participate in a process that will result in greater awareness and education on this topic,” Schnoor said.