Bank South Pacific has defended its fees, sayingthe charges are to cater for the high cost of running and expanding its service tothe country’s population.
The comments come amidst customers’ complaints that BeP is rippingthem off, by imposing charges onthe various services it provides.
Little dothe customers know thatthe feesthey pay, contribute towardsthe bigger picture expanding and bringing banking services tothe remote areas andthe unbanked.
Kili Tambua, BeP Deputy General Manager Retail Banking saysthe presumed high rates and charges are for one purpose – “To runthe numerous branches in all parts ofthe country”.
“It is extremely expensive to run retail banking in those locations,” he said. “ther commercial banks have fourteen to fifteen branches, while BeP has a total of eighty-five branches…and running eighty-five branches means you run a lot of costs.”
Currently, eighty-five branches including rural and urban branches, 275 ATMs, and more than ten thousand eftpos operating to serve its customers.
“We want to make it cost effective for our business so we have to be competitive with our pricing,” said Tambua.
Withthe current BeP rural initiative to reachthe unbanked,the exercise is very expensive. Betthe bank does it as a community obligation.
BeP’saysthe deductions made are competitively priced so as to generate a steady financial support for its operations.
Mr Tambua also added that customers should use cheaper channels of accessing its services.
“We provide cheaper electronic banking channels likethe Wantok Money, Mobile Banking, and SMS Banking; those are cheaper options that people could start to use,” he said. “The customer should start thinking about doing banking usingthe cheaper channels which is electronic banking channel. That’s more cost effective for the customer and everyone.”
The advantage for rural customers is that throughthe BeP RuralInitiative, transactions can be done at little or no cost at all compared to customers in towns and cities.
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