FINANCIAL institutions’ earnings are under severe threat and banks stand to lose in excess of US$40 million in potential income from bank charges after government reduced tariffs and fees effective this year, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) has said.
Late last year, Baz voluntarily signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which was to see reduction of lending rates and bank charges, amid concerns consumers were being overcharged.
Baz president George Guvamatanga this week said a majority of the banks were fully compliant with the MoU which Finance minister Tendai Biti threatened to ratify into law through a statutory instrument if the banks resisted compliance.
“The agreement means we will be taking away just over US$40 million in terms of income to financial services sector,” Guvamatanga said.
The Baz president argued operating costs such as wages should also be re-aligned to the new tariff regime to ensure banks remain viable.
“When you go to South Africa, a teller is paid R5 000 whereas a non-clerical worker here is paid about R9 000. When you go to our ATMs here they run on generators, so we have to ask ourselves, are we not becoming too expensive?” Guvamatanga asked.
“We want to ensure that it is not only bank charges that have been reduced, but all other charges that have an impact on the cost of doing business,” he added. —