Anthony Clerk, Managing Director and CEO of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited.

BUSINESS MONDAY: CLERK SHEDS LIGHT ON RISING BANK FEES

BARBADIANS who have been complaining about the increasing level of fees which commercial banks are charging, should know that some fees are directly related to the increasing cost of doing business in this country.

Anthony Clerk, Managing Director and CEO of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, addressed the issue during an interview with Business Monday.

However, speaking specifically about Republic Bank, Mr. Clerk insisted that the fees they are charging cannot be looked at in isolation. He pointed out that the context in which they are introduced and levied, has to do with the fact that the bank is becoming more and more expensive to run.

Barbados, he went on, is a high taxed location. “As you know, there were a number of taxes introduced over the last few years and that had the impact on the cost of doing business,” the Republic Bank official declared.

He admitted that Republic Bank has adjusted its fees upwards and has introduced some additional ones.

The Banker told Business Monday that the fee structure at Republic Bank has to be looked at also in the context that the institution had not increased its fees maybe for six or eight years.

“When we did our analysis and made those adjustments, we found we were still in line with, or lower than the rest of the market,” Mr. Clerk said.

He further noted that those impositions are direct taxes on the bank in some cases, including the tax on the assets. Those taxes, the official said, would have increased the cost of supplies and inputs, a lot of which the bank has to buy.

Noting that information technology services are costing more, the CEO said that some of the increases in fees were more cost recovery “than profit making because we had not made that kind of adjustment in several years”.

There is also a cost involved in maintaining an account at the bank, he remarked, pointing out that “we sell financial services, we don’t sell products”.

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