NCA President Says Banks Acting Like A Colonial Master – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The President of Saint Lucia‘s National Consumers Association (NCA) has called out local banks over poor customer service and unilateral customer requirements, accusing the lending institutions of behaving like a colonial master.

“The Banks must have consultation. It’s not a big stick approach. It’s like the Banks are behaving like a colonial master now. It’s like they put the rules and we just have to abide. It cannot be so,” Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis declared Friday.

Fitz-Lewis spoke days after Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre expressed concern over reports that an unnamed local bank would move towards cashless transactions.

Reassuring the public, the Finance Minister pledged to take action, promising parliament that he would raise the matter with his regional counterparts.

Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis echoed Pierre’s concern and his call for the bank to re-examine its policy.

She also underscored the need for consultation on the cashless transaction issue.

She told St. Lucia Times that banks usually impose conditions on customers without consultation.

“I am endorsing what the Prime Minister said in the House. How could you tell this 70-year-old lady that she has to get an ATM card ?” The NCA President said.

Fitz-Lewis recalled that she had challenges when a bank implemented a new high-tech ATM system without educating customers regarding its use or having a media awareness program on its rollout.

“The Banks have to understand that it is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and not because we are in a technological age, you can decide to implement cashless transactions and shove services down people’s throats,” the NCA President told the St. Lucia Times.

She explained that Bank customers are not limited to educated, tech-savvy individuals.

In addition, the NCA official asserted that some Bank transactions cannot occur online.

Fitz-Lewis disclosed that Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte had a consultation this week with the NCA, the Chamber of Commerce, and all banks to discuss customer concerns.

The concerns included long queues, poor customer service, and situations where, at peak times, only two tellers are available.