Dominica is one of eight countries set to be impacted by proposed changes to the regional banking sector, as the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) looks to ramp up protection for consumers.
The proposed changes come in response to the periodic increases in transactions and other fees by some financial institutions, without any substantial engagement with the region’s monetary authority.
Governor Timothy Antoine explained just how little influence the ECCB currently has on the banks raising fees and the like.
“We have to make sure that depositors’ funds are safe. That is what our focus is. So, when a financial institution wants to adjust their fees and charges, the only thing the law allows us to do is to ask them why and ask them whether they have given adequate notice which is 30 days. We cannot say no or even say yes,” he explained.
The bank’s Chief Director of Policy, Tracy Polius, revealed that their goal is to pass independent legislation within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), that addresses the conduct of financial institutions such as banks, allowing for greater consumer protection.
Both officials were speaking during a recent media engagement in St Lucia.
Polius added that a Conduct Authority will be established, led by the bank, and with support from each of the countries in the jurisdiction. However, no timeline has yet been set for the implementation of these changes.
The ECCB is the Monetary Authority for a number of Eastern Caribbean countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Lucia.