New bank is most welcome

08/11/2012 12:23

Dissatisfied with the service provided by your current bank? Perhaps it is time for consumers to do ‘bank shopping’- which is choosing to invest in the bank that serves your best interest.

The opening of Bred Bank on 3 November 2012 has added more choice for Fiji’s consumers. The new French entrant to the banking market should stimulate more competition and competitive products for consumers to choose from.

The Council supports competition as it provides more choice to consumers and prompts banks to offer more competitive products. It is indeed good news to note that the Reserve Bank of Fiji does not have a policy on limiting the number of financial institutions that can set up in the country.

This will enhance the much needed competition in the banking sector. The banking industry has existed in Fiji for about 112 years and yet this industry has remained uncompetitive where fees, charges and commissions remain exorbitantly high and the quality of services rendered by banks remains a cause for concern amongst consumers.

The Council is pleased with Bred Bank’s offer of competitive packages in the market. For instance, its premium savings accounts offer the highest interest rate --- 2.75% for normal savings and 3% for senior citizens compared to 2% as the maximum interest offered by one bank.

Consumers who open an account with Bred Bank before the end of this year (31 December, 2012) will further be advantaged to no maintenance/transaction fee or any withdrawal fee charged for the lifetime of that account. Consumers currently lose out on as high as $10 for maintenance and $10 for transaction fees for their savings account with at least one bank while electronic and paper withdrawals fees at different banks range from $2 to $5.

Bred Bank’s fixed term deposits ranging from 1 to 60 months when compared with other banks also offer the best interest rate in the market- standing at 4% for 60 months for instance.

The Council urges consumers to be objective about the type of service received from their bank and make smart decisions to switch if needed.

Meanwhile, the Council will be closely monitoring claims and promises made by the banks ensuring that they do not mislead the consumers in any way.