The Trinidad-owned Republic Bank says it will provide compensation to disgruntled customers affected by its operations in recent months as the Bank of Guyana (BOG) says it will discuss the possibility of imposing penalties against the financial institution since it upgraded its systems last month.
BOG Governor Dr. Gobin Ganga said the Central Bank is actively considering imposing the penalties even as he acknowledged that while there are no provisions within the current laws to penalise banks, the issue will come for discussion when the BOG meets with Guyana Association of Banks later this week.
“Republic Bank is forcing us in that direction, not only with respect to their current conduct but in future conduct. We are not threatening anybody we want to bring things out in the open…this is what is expected of you if you are not going to be doing what is required to do then this is the penalty,” Ganga said.
He said the Central Bank as well as numerous customers h=who have expressed disappointment with the conduct of Republic Bank with regards to its new platform.
“The Central Bank has always been very disappointed. The Central Bank has been in contact with Republic Bank to ensure they are putting the necessary structure in place but I should tell you they have been very very slow.”
He said following talks with the bank’s senior officials, the BOG had been informed that Republic Bank, considered the biggest bank here, was doing all it could to rectify the problems.
“And so we are ensuring that they are continuously addressing this issue to make it more, I would say, acceptable to the public. We are hoping that when this new play form is put in place that they will be able to compensate the customer some way or the other for all the discomfort they would have caused,” Ganga added.
Last month, the Guyana government criticized Republic Bank over the long delays customers have been experiencing in transacting business, even as the bank promised to fix them by mid-December.
Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon called on Republic Bank to “put in place some manual facility” even as it alters its existing systems to avoid customers being inconvenienced.
“If the bank has to alter its mechanisms, it has to put in place some manual facilities so that the people may get their money, then they would have to do it,” Harmon said.
Republic Bank has since indicated that it is moving to compensate customers as a result of the situation.
“Importantly, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting on December 9th 2019, Chairman, Nigel Baptiste, announced that the Bank is working on measures to compensate customers for the inconvenience experienced as result of the conversion to the new banking platform,” Republic Bank said in a statement.
It reaffirmed its commitment to fully resolve all new banking system related issues by mid-December.
“With ongoing emphasis to improve transaction efficiency, customers can access their accounts via the Bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where a higher single transaction limit of GUY$100,000 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) is now available,” Republic Bank said, adding that 82 per cent of its point of sale terminals are now operable, facilitating customers’ payments at merchants, “while we continue to address those outstanding for earliest availability”