Out of line
MINISTER OF FINANCE Chris Sinckler is siding with those critics who believe that local commercial bank charges are way out of line, and has suggested that aggrieved customers should exercise their “options”.
At the same time, Sinckler is calling on the banks to stop discriminating against seniors when it comes to granting loans for mortgages.
“I don’t know of any other place in the world in which people look at age as a criterion. It’s what you have, your ability to service any loan,” he told the SUNDAY SUN during an interview in New York.
“You may be 100 or 99 years old and in a better position to service a loan than somebody who is 35. So do you give it to the person who is 35 and disqualify the person who is 90 years, because you feel he or she is 90 years old and may drop down dead tomorrow?
“That is not a basis on which you solely determine how you are going to give a loan. It has to be on your capacity, your earning capacity, on what are your assets, how you can collateralize it,” he said.
Sinckler was also highly critical of recent hikes in commercial bank rates, stating that Government saw the need for greater bank restraint based on the prevailing economic environment.
“Personally, I think bank fees are too high and . . . I think they can modulate them a bit more,” the Minister of Finance said. But he acknowledged that Government was not in a position to tell the banks what to do and could only use moral suasion.
Sinckler pointed out that the credit union was always there, and therefore if people didn’t like the rates banks were charging, they knew where else they could go.