The Bank of Zambia has announced the abolishment of unwarranted bank charges effective yesterday, September 4th 2018.
Some of the charges that will no longer be applicable include withdraw fees, balance inquiries and account maintenance fees.
According to a Government Gazette number 6693, the Bank of Zambia Prohibition Against Unwarranted Bank Charges and Fees of 2018 has now been promulgated into law.
This is according to a Circular issued by Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor-Operations Dr Bwalya Ngandu.
And Economics Association of Zambia President Lubinda Haabazoka has commended the Central Bank for the move.
“Colleagues the chapter has finally been closed. Effect today 4th September 2018 the unwarranted charges and fees by banks are illegal. The BoZ has directed all banks to stop such charges and fees. The Directive is in the Government Gazette number 6693!! Enjoy free withdrawals, balance inquiries, free kwacha accounts among other things!!! God bless the BoZ,” he said.
Mr Haabazoka said the excuses banks were using to resist the unwarranted charges were laughable.
“This is not a battle we should loose. We want to enhance financial inclusion, reduce lending rates by encouraging people to deposit with banks on longer terms but what we get from Bankers Association is worrying. Job losses? I thought banks should lend money for a profit and not charge people over nothing,” he said.
“If Banks insist, then government should allow companies to pay salaries by cash. We shall see which money banks will hold. Banks apart from demanding that an employer guarantees repayment of our loans still insist that we insure our loans. With all these repayment assurances, they still demand high lending rates and deny people loans so that they can just charge us for keeping our money,” he observed.
He charged that banks are barely renting people’s money.
“It is us they should pay and not the other way round!!! Say no to unwarranted charges,” he stated.
But the Bankers Association of Zambia’s has warned that the decision to abolish bank charges will only cripple the financial services industry and may result in job losses for some workers in the sector.
Association Chief Executive Officer Leonard Mwanza said that there was a justification as to why commercial banks slapped such charges on clients.
He also warned that members of staff face getting sacked as a result of commercial banks who may choose to downsize.