House Begins Debate on Banking Services Amendment Act

Photo: Donald De La Haye Prime Minister the Most. Hon. Andrew Holness speaking in the House of Representatives. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives on Tuesday (Jan. 24) started debate on the Banking Services (Amendment) Act.
  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, commended Mr. Jackson for taking the legislation, which began as a Private Member’s Motion, through the various stages.
  • “It is important that the country understands that the Parliament isn’t just sitting as Government and Opposition; that parliamentarians in their own right, with their own energy and effort are...using this forum to defend and protect the interest of Jamaicans,” he added.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday (Jan. 24) started debate on the Banking Services (Amendment) Act.

The legislation, which is a Private Member’s Bill brought by Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, seeks to to have the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) regulate the use of fees and charges by financial institutions and ensure greater protection for customers.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, commended Mr. Jackson for taking the legislation, which began as a Private Member’s Motion, through the various stages.

“It is not often that we have such Bills going through our Parliament,” he said.

Noting that formatting such money Bills takes a “tremendous amount of work,” Mr. Holness said he is mindful that Mr. Jackson “would’ve dedicated quite a significant effort and time in bringing this (to fruition).”

“It is important that the country understands that the Parliament isn’t just sitting as Government and Opposition; that parliamentarians in their own right, with their own energy and effort are…using this forum to defend and protect the interest of Jamaicans,” he added.

In piloting the Bill, Mr. Jackson said it represents a progressive step to enhance the provisions of the existing Banking Services Act by ensuring that the interest of depositors is protected.

He noted that while the Act, which was passed in 2014, “heralded new heights for the regulation of licensees (which are banks and other financial institutions) “it did not adequately and forcefully address the regulation of these licensees as it concerned the consumer, the depositor.”

“I introduce this Bill as an amendment to the Banking Services Act to strengthen the regulation of licensees under the Act as it relates to depositors,” he said.

Mr. Jackson noted that a key proposal of the Bill is for the introduction of a mandatory minimum service package for customers, which would be applicable to all licensees.

“This is vital in a space of ad hoc voluntary minimum service standard, which vary greatly from institution to institution,” he pointed out.

He added that the proposed changes will foster financial education and inclusion for customers.

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