RBZ scraps bank charges for accounts with US$100 balances

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has ordered all banks to stop applying monthly charges on accounts with a consecutive minimum balance of US$100 for 30 days.

The developments come at a time when several citizens are now using their bank accounts for transacting purposes alone with many opting to withdraw their funds as soon as they receive payments as a strategy of evading bank charges.

But presenting the Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) Friday, RBZ governor, Dr John Mushayavanhu said the culture of feasting on depositors’ funds must end.

“Cognisant of calls by the banking public for affordable and reasonable bank charges, the Bank is with immediate effect directing all banking institutions to put exemption clauses on monthly maintenance or service charges for both FCA and ZiG deposit accounts that maintain a consecutive minimum daily balance of US$100 and below or its equivalent in ZiG for a period of up to 30 days,” he said.

Mushayavanhu said this initiative will avoid incidences of low-cost accounts being charged maintenance fees to the point where accounts reach negative balances and, in the process, prejudice depositors and discourage potential savings.

“The Bank shall continue to monitor the pricing of banking products and services, as well as enforce the pricing framework agreed upon with the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

“It is envisaged that as banking institutions embark on accelerated digital transformation, the institutions will achieve operational efficiencies which will impact positively on the cost of some banking services,” he said.

However, it remains unclear whether this policy initiative will all address high withdrawal charges being applied to transactions.