St Vincent and the Grenadines - A number of persons say they have withdrawn their savings from Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT)/Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Bank in Kingstown because of an EC$25 monthly charge that will take effect on May 23.
Long lines dominated inside and outside the bank on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first business days after The News newspaper reported on the new charges last Friday.
A printed notice at the bank on Wednesday said, among other things, "Effective May 23rd, 2016, we will be introducing a new suite of personal accounts."
The notice said that should persons have any questions about the changes or wish to review their current banking requirements, the bank "would be happy to discuss the options that are right for you".
One woman who had just exited the bank told iWitness News that she had withdrawn "almost all" her savings because of the new fee.
"There was no consultation and I think if you are doing something like that, you should consult your clients," she said.
The St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has expressed concern at the increase in commercial banks' fees and charges across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and the effects on depositors.
But the ECCB, which serves as a Central Bank for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat and Anguilla, said, that it does not have the powers to regulate commercial banks' fees and charges.
"As a consequence, individual banks determine their fees and charges," the ECCB said in the statement, noting that Article 34 of the ECCB Agreement permits it to regulate the minimum interest rate paid on savings deposits.
RBC buys RBTT
On 26 March 2008, RBTT Shareholders voted 98.18 percent in favour of selling the bank to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), who previously had divested the bank in 1987. On 16 June 2008, RBC completed the acquisition.
The Royal Bank of Canada bought the Caribbean bank RBTT Financial Group for a total of about $2.2 billion (C$2.2 billion), building on the Canadian bank's presence in the region.