FDD Chama district chairperson Yotam Mtayachalo says his party will soon present a petition to Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Dr Danny Kalyalya against what he has termed as outrageous and unjustified numerous bank charges by some commercial banks.

And Mtayachalo says BoZ should be proactive in regulating all bank charges in order to protect depositors from exploitative tendencies.

He cited ZANACO’s case where the bank asked its clients to upgrade their ATM cards by replacing them with new ones at a K70 fee when current cards had not expired.

“We would like to express our grave concern with the behaviour of some banks in the country which are bent at exploiting their clients through outrageous bank charges. These financial institutions are reaping where they didn’t sow and have resorted to introducing numerous and unnecessary bank charges which cannot be justified. For example,the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) has asked its clients to upgrade their ATM cards by replacing the old ones with new ones which have not yet expired and they are charging K70 for a new card when it is not the fault of the depositor,” Mtayachalo observed.

He stated that some bank charges were tantamount to daylight robbery by bankers.

“Further, banks charge monthly maintenance fees and now one wonders why depositors should continue to suffer numerous charges imposed on depositors while the institution which is suppose to over see the operations of these banks is doing nothing. Furthermore, some banks even charge for making deposits which is ridiculous and amounts to daylight robbery. They also charge for every withdraw one makes however I feel that banks should only charge for withdrawing if a depositor has gone behind a certain limit per week or month than being charged for every transaction made. The worse situation is the Automatic Teller Machines(ATMS) which have been abused by some banks because they have designed their ATMS in such a way that they can only dispense a limited small amounts of money per transaction. This means that if you are withdrawing a large amount, you incur a high cost depending on how many withdraw transactions one is making. They also charge about K3 for merely checking balance on the ATM in case of ZANACO which is too high and unnecessary,” Mtayachalo further stated.

He appealed to the central bank to intervene and protect depositors from being further exploited.

And Mtayachalo further proposed that banks should absorb some costs since they use people’s deposits to loan out at higher interest rates.

“I’m appealing to the central bank to be proactive and regulate these bank charges in order to protect depositors from exploitative tendencies of some banks, as failure to do so people may not see the importance of banking in light of high bank charges. The banks must also be mandated to produce monthly bank statements for their clients so that they can be undertaking bank reconciliation in order to promote transparency,” said Mwanza.

“Besides when you request for an interim statement,the cost is quite high when at the same time some banks are failing to make available monthly bank statements to their clients. The banks should be absorbing some of these costs because they charge monthly maintenance fees and moreover they use our deposits to loan out at a higher interest rates. After consultations,a petition will be presented very soon to the Governor of bank of Zambia Dr Danny Kalyalya so that he can intervene as quickly as possible as financial institutions cannot be allowed to continue to exploit depositors.”

Meanwhile Bankers Association Of Zambia (BAZ) Chief Executive Officer Leonard Mwanza said the association was fully aware of the concerns from stakeholders and that he will give an in-depth analysis soon.

But Bank of Zambia Head of Public Relations Kanguya Mayondi could not comment on the matter as he was out of office.