Our Readers' Opinions
May 27, 2014

ATMs for customers’ benefit – an untruth!

Tue, May 27, 2014

Editor: I contact you with regard to the recent announcement that we, the poor paying customers, are to be subjected to yet another money grabbing scam by our local banks.{{more}}

I refer, of course, to the announced plans that we, the customers that keep them in business, are now to be levied a fee to collect our own money, either by counter or ATM withdrawals.

I cannot comment on the actions of all the banks here in SVG, but as I have the misfortune to bank with RBTT, I will direct my following comments to them! But, I will leave it to your readers to decide if these comments can be directed to their own banks as well!

Firstly, let us dispute the claims made by all banks that the introduction of ATM machines was made for the benefit of us, the customers. This is nothing but a sales/marketing untruth by the bank. The real reason for the introduction of these machines was to enable the banks to save even more money, at the expense and inconvenience of their customers. In that the more customers that use these outside machines, the fewer customers they have to deal with at their counters and the fewer tellers or counter staff they need to employ. So, we, as ATM users, are now saving the banks untold amounts of money in wages through the staff cuts made by the use of these machines.

Being as greedy as they are, these banks are no longer happy about this saving in wages, but now operate a money grabbing excuse to take even more fees from customers just wishing to receive their own money.

I must admit that I have no idea how much it takes to purchase, install and operate these machines, but I am 100 per cent certain that, given the number of customers here in SVG who use these machines, the fees collected by these banks will far and away exceed the operating costs of these machines. This then equates to more profit to the banks, since I very much doubt that this profit will be passed on to the poor client!

With regard solely to RBTT, I would make the following points:

Why can’t your company move into the 21st century, even here in SVG, the more progressive banks can now offer their clients ATM withdrawals at various locations. Why are we, the long-suffering RBTT customers, still faced with a trek into your branch in Kingstown to collect our own money? If other banks can offer ATMs at other more convenient locations to customers, why can’t RBTT?

If RBTT intends to charge a fee to me obtaining my own money, what happens when I travel from the Windward side of the island, only to find that one or both of your machines are inoperable, as has happened on a number of occasions. What compensation package will RBTT offer me as a refund for my time, petrol, car parking fee, due to a wasted journey! It seems only fair that if RBTT is to charge me for obtaining my own money from them, they should offer me some form of recompense when they are unable to allow me to collect my own said money (Not that that will ever happen, as it means having to pay out money rather than snatch it in).

A few short weeks ago RBTT announced the closure of the branch in Bequia, resulting not only (I am sure) a great deal of inconvenience to those customers that reside there, but also the loss of an unspecified number of jobs to those employed by this RBTT branch. To add insult to injury, the RBTT notice of closure ended with a general platitude about them always putting customer service first! If that closure and the forthcoming charge for ATM withdrawals is an example of RBTT putting customer service first, then I shudder to think what sort of service we will get from RBTT in the future.

A VERY disenchanted, disgruntled and unfortunate RBTT customer