Some RBC Royal Bank customers are expressing displeasure about the bank's decision to introduce new fees and charges while increasing some existing fees, with some of the bank's long-standing customers even saying that they are rethinking their relationship with the Canadian-owned bank.
On Monday, RBC Royal Bank announced on its website that it planned, effective March 27, to introduce a number of new fees and increase some of its existing fees. The new schedule includes an $8 deposit fee for day-to-day banking, day-to-day savings, enhanced savings and student banking customers. The bank's schedule does not make clear whether this new deposit fee includes ATM and salary deposits or if the fee pertains to only in-branch deposits.
In a sample that selected five customers randomly exiting the bank's Independence Square branch between 10.30am and 1100am, several of the customers said they have been banking with RBC Royal Bank for decades.
Melville, a 64-year-old man from Arima, said: "I think that is highway robbery that they are charging us $15 per month once you are under $15,000. That is not right. There are people who cannot afford that in their accounts and pensions. And the small income earners, they are taking $15 per month from them. That is unfair to the poor man."
Melville said he has been banking for decades with RBC, adding: "I remember when Dr Williams had nationalised the banks, we got away from the foreigners and we are back with the foreigners for the last 10 years. We are being robbed again as though it is back in the European days."
Another customer, Gloria said the increase is, "carrying down my savings. I have been banking with RBC since I was 30 years old and now I am 69 years old." Stating that she is from the Eastern part of T&T, Gloria said she was angry but questioned what can she do.
"Small people cannot do anything. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I hope to pull my savings and I am thinking about it seriously," said Gloria.
A third customer who did not want to be identified and has been a customer of the bank for two decades, said he pulled three accounts which he had with the bank because he was not pleased with the increase.
Ready to adapt to the changes imposed by the bank, a fourth customer who did not want to be identified said: "We (the customers) have to get with the times." She said the bank is justified in increasing its rates. Asked what the increase in fees would do to her savings, she said that "it would keep my funds safer."
Leo, a Mt Hope resident who has been banking with RBC for more than 40 years, said the increase in fees is "ridiculous" because the customer should not have to pay the extra on a deposit from which the bank is going to gain interest.
"You (RBC) have to give an account of the money that you (RBC) saving for me, I have to pay for it when you send me my bank statement, so I am paying for my own information. That is very unfair, right now I looking to change (or stop banking with RBC)."
He added that the increase in fees has come "like a thief in the night," because they have also reduced the quality of service by closing down some branches. "I am a senior citizen and they cut out the senior citizens' line. There are no toilet facilities so I leave to go to the toilet and come back, its another day you have to stay in the bank."
Belmont resident, Greta, who has been banking at RBC for two decades, said the increase in fees does not cater for the young working professional.
"I am disgusted with them because their service is very poor, I plan to pull out my funds. The only problem with that is that there are standing orders going to the account so you have to make arrangements for them to go somewhere else."
Herbert who has been banking with RBC since 1980 and is from Diego Martin, said he does not understand if the bank is justified in increasing the rates.
"I don't know the financial situation with them (at the bank) so I can't say yes or no. It's (the $15 increase) is a service they are providing. I can't say they are wrong with increasing the fees."
SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Nadaleen Singh)