The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has announced that it has completed phase one of a review of unwarranted charges by commercial banks, which look set to be abolished.

And Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Dr Lubinda Haabazoka hailed the BoZ’s move, saying members of the public have finally won.

BoZ director for Bank Supervision Gladys Mposha stated the central bank is in the process of issuing a directive to all commercial banks on the unwarranted charges and fees, which look set to be abolished.

“Following the announcement previously made during the governor’s meeting with chief executive officers that the Bank of Zambia was reviewing charges and fees levied by financial service providers; we would like to take this opportunity to inform the market that the first phase of the review of bank charges and fees has now been completed. This phase focussed on identifying some bank charges and fees levied by financial service providers, which are determined to be unwarranted and, therefore, should not be charged. In this regard, the Bank would like to share with the market the list of these fees for information before the Bank of Zambia directive on unwarranted charges and for fees is issued,” Mposha stated in a letter addressed to all CEOs of commercial banks dated August 7, 2018.

She narrated the comprehensive list of fees that were deemed to be unwarranted.

“The list of unwarranted charges will include the following: Account opening for local currency; cash deposit made by a third party into a customer’s account; cash deposit on Automated Teller Machine (ATM); a charge on a basic savings account (without cheque book) opening within contractual terms; transfer of an account from one branch to another branch of the same bank; aborted ATM cash withdrawals; ATM PIN reset; Point of Sale (POS) transaction (own bank customer and other bank customers); activity that is generated by the bank; additional charges arising from an initial charge generated by the bank; a charge for closure of a customer’s account; re-activating a bank account; statement of a closed account upon closing of the account; balance and other account inquiries by a customer over-the-counter or my electronic platform; over-the-cash deposits and withdrawals; Initial debit card issuance fee; debit card maintenance and renewal fees (annually, quarterly or monthly); monthly maintenance fees on Basic Savings Accounts (without cheque book);”

“Transfer of funds between account domiciled in the same bank; inward local fund transfers, including on RTGS systems and electronic fund transfers (EFT); inward international funds transfer where the remitter bears the full cost; amendment or cancellation of a standing order; Automated Teller Machine (ATM) surcharge; ledger fees per entry on a current or savings account; commission on turnover/debit activity fees/ledger fees; any other charge or fee the Bank may determine.”

She added that the BoZ will in phase two look at other charges and fees that are unwarranted and deemed to be unfair to the public.

“Kindly note that the outcome of the second phase of the review on bank charges and fees will be communicated to the market in due course,” stated Mposha.

And Dr Haabazoka reacted to the move with delight, saying members of the public have finally won, describing the fees and charges as totally unfair.

“Dear colleagues! Unfair Bank charges have gone!!!! We have won!!! The Bank of Zambia has intervened in the best interest of depositors!!! Now we can talk about financial inclusion!!! Banks should concentrate on bank lending. That is their core business. I am very grateful to all those that supported the campaign. Together we can make this country clean of economic unfairness!!! You can now safely check your account balance without paying K2. You can now withdraw your own money for free!!! Open a kwacha non-cheque account for free!! No more paying charges for swiping!!! Amen!!!” exclaimed Dr Haabazoka in brief comments posted on his official Facebook page.