EDITORIAL: Banks must come clean


CBK data shows that there were banks paying as high as 12.5 per cent on the interbank market in the past one week. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A research by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya has opened the lid on the opacity of an array of bank charges, painting a worrying picture of the sector.

It’s unacceptable that in this day and age bank charges are still shrouded in secrecy and complexities.

By failing to simplify and clearly disclose how they price their services, banks are not only flouting the regulatory dictates of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), but are also taking advantage of their customers who do not have an inkling of how various levies are arrived at.

FSD in its findings notes that even after conducting a painstaking research, it was still unable to get to grips on how banks calculate the costs of their services. 

READ: Bank charges still full of grey areas

The study discovered that many banks’ tariff guides are outdated, incomplete and lack account-specific data. Taking into account how widespread this malpractice is, one would be correct to conclude this is a deliberate ploy by lenders to reap where they have not sown.

Banks are licensed by the CBK to not only be the custodians of customers’ deposits, they are also accorded the permission to trade with the money they keep. It is only fair that they return the favour by prudently conducting their transactions and transparently revealing resultant charges.

If lenders cannot be trusted with fees and charges, how can we bank on them to play an enabling role in the economy?