Continuing with the theme of what to consider when choosing (or losing) a bank, this installment takes a look at some of the places you can access information on bank charges.
Banks are required by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to periodically publish their bank charges in the print media. Resultantly, information on fees and commissions – commonly referred to as Business Conditions or Terms and Conditions – is usually published once a month, though banks generally tend to do so less frequently, commonly on a quarterly basis. “These measures will increase information accessibility and promote informed decision making by consumers,” said the then acting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Charity Dhliwayo in her Monetary Policy Statement of January 2014.
Some banks post their terms and conditions or business conditions on their websites. However, since many websites don’t get updated as often as they should, charges displayed online may well be inaccurate.
Of course, the most logical place to find a bank’s charges is in the banking hall. If you walk into any bank and ask the Enquiries Officer or Customer Service Officer (CSO) for the latest schedule of charges, you should be handed one without any fuss, if your bank is worth its salt. In most cases however, you will find them displayed prominently in the banking hall as alluded to by the Reserve Bank Governor so you actually shouldn’t have to ask unless you intend to take a copy home.
Comparing Bank Charges
We now take a comparative look at five common services and the applicable bank charges for personal transactions at four banks which have been selected on the basis of their ownership structure. We have a wholly owned foreign-owned bank (Standard Chartered Bank), a hybrid bank (NMB Bank Limited), an almost wholly-locally owned bank (CBZ Bank Limited) and a 100% locally owned bank (ZB Bank Limited) in order to achieve some balance in the banks’ profiles.
Please note that Standard Chartered figures are based on June 2014 business conditions published on the 24th of June 2014, NMB Bank charges are based on the April Business Conditions published on 1st April 2014 while for CBZ Bank and ZB Bank, the figures are based on June 2014 business conditions published on 25th June 2014. Although the charges published by banks are meant to cover a specific period, banks usually issue a disclaimer to the effect that the information is correct at the time of publication and they reserve the right to make changes in line with prevailing market conditions without prior notice.
It is also worth noting that pensioners or senior citizens (those above 60 years) enjoy free banking services at most banks and even preferential treatment such as not being expected to stand in queues.
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