In the face of mounting public backlash, Scotiabank has announced a six month delay in a planned increase in its banking fees.

The bank had intended to increase fees for use of its ABMs and point of sale machines starting next month.

But in an about face, the bank announced yesterday that it would delay the hike in fees, while it continued what it says are public education efforts for its customers.

Ricardo Brooks reports.

The country’s two largest commercial banks, Scotiabank and National Commercial Bank, NCB, faced significant public backlash recently when they announced their intention to further increase banking fees.

Among the charges which drew the ire of Jamaicans is news that Scotiabank was set to charge its customers $25 to withdraw money from its ABMs, while the charge for using another bank’s machine will be $60.

But yesterday Scotiabank relented.

In a statement, the bank revealed it will delay the increase for six months while it educates customers on the best account type to suit their needs. 

The bank says it will also educate customers about the most appropriate channel based on their needs, which it says will further minimize costs.

The bank notes it is expanding its Scotia Payroll Account, which is designed to assist customers earning less than $100,000 per month.

The bank says the account type has no minimum balance requirement and attracts no fees for use of its ABM or POS transactions.

Scotiabank says the move is intended to assist customers to access banking services at a low to no cost.

It says it will also increase promotion of its ScotiaCare accounts to ensure eligible customers receive all available benefits of that type of account.

The bank says the ScotiaCare account is designed for customers earning less than $100,000 and who may be on the PATH programme. It says the account also attracts no fees for use of its ABMs and POS machines.

The National Commercial Bank, NCB, has also faced significant backlash for their increases in fees.

NCB customers are now being charged nearly $40 to withdraw money from NCB ABMs. 

The transaction was previously free.

Customers will also incur double those charges if they use their NCB debit card to withdraw money from the ABMs of other banks.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke,and MP for South St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson, had all urged the banks to reconsider the increases.