Draft banking code ready

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday June 30, 2011 – The draft code of conduct governing the delivery of banking services has now been completed and if it’s embraced by the country’s bankers association, Jamaica will be the first CARICOM nation to have the sector guided by such a policy.

The development of the code is part of the ‘Promotion of Consumer Protection in the Caribbean’ project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which involves Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

Among the objectives of the project, which is being implemented by Consumers International (CI) through a unit housed at the offices of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), is to “strengthen the technical capacity in the areas of banking and credit for non government and government consumer agencies”.

Regional Project Coordinator, Consumer International, Candice Ramessar, emphasised that the draft code was not an attempt to coerce the banking sector, but rather to encourage them to adopt practices and principles, which are in the best interest of the banks as well as their clients.

Presenting the draft code for discussion at a recently held JIS Think Tank, Executive Director of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, noted that the recommended best practice principles contained in the draft, were developed by consumer stakeholders including the CAC, National Consumers League (NCL), and is now available for consideration by stakeholders of the banking sector in Jamaica.

The draft code contains 11 key commitments which include: non-discriminatory access; service standards; product information; credit information; variation in fees and charges; provisions for elderly, disabled and pregnant consumers; and dispute resolution.

It also commits the banking sector to a three-year review, and recommends that the process should “involve an independent survey of consumers and consumer agencies regarding the effectiveness of the code.”

This review may result in the addition of clauses as needed and agreed on by the stakeholders.

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