The Central Bank has imposed new fees on local banks for services under their new Automated Payment and Securities Settlement System.
Under the new payment schedule, the Central Bank will charge local banks for every electronic fund transfer. While it is expected that those increases will be passed on to customers by local banks, today Belize Bank’s Deputy CEO, Filippo Alario, indicated that the competition should sort things out in favour of the customer.
Filippo Alario, Deputy CEO, Belize Bank
“With the new payment system, the Central Bank has taken a cost on board, and that cost on board is passed on through the banks each banks calculates their cost of operating and each one charges their particular fee, the central Bank will not force a bank to charge more or less but there are many banks and I believe that competition should prevail and people should moves to banks that charges less, so it is not on anybody banks’ interest to charge the highest price because with the competition that is there very easily they can move from one bank to the other so we all trying to keep the cost as little as possible. And speak for another bank, the charges that we charge as fees have to do with the cost of doing business not really necessary to make a absorbitant profit again competition as you mention there is one bank that charges high there is another that charges less and members of the public will go to the bank that charges less and that is where our competition start to take hold and the Central Bank might be a little restrict as you say they can charge two dollars or three dollars or zero but competition should take care of that equation. I don’t know the different charges that we charge for different product and services, each one there is a calculation and we try to be as competitive as possible definitely it is not in our interest to grouch anybody, the cost of banking has really gone through the roof especially with compliance issue and the pressures that correspondence bank are putting on us and having robust frameworks and all of those costs definitely we can’t absorb.”
The new system implemented by the Central Bank of Belize should improve speed, safety and reliability of transactions and that for the first time, Belize's major banks will be inter-connected, to ensure swifter cash and cheque payments. But improved service means higher fees. Transfers over $50,000 will attract a $3.50 charge from the Central Bank, while transactions under $50,000 will attract a $0.25 charge. Instant Funds transfer, processed online, will attract a $0.50 charge while cheque processing for amounts $50,000, up to $100,000, and above $100,000, will now see $1.00, $50 and $100 charges per cheque respectively.