South Africa’s banks are decreasing charges in a managed way and at the right pace, the heads of two of the country’s major banks said on Thursday.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan met various bank chairmen and CEOs this week to thrash out their differences after reportedly calling them "greedy monsters" six weeks ago.
FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana and Investec CEO Stephen Koseff told delegates to the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Sandton that bankers were not ripping off clients for the use of their services. Discovery is South Africa’s largest medical aid.
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The two were part of a panel discussion at the event, which also included Goldman Sachs International co-CEO Richard Gnodde.
Banks are criticised for charging for services such as withdrawals and printing statements, and for not easing the strain on consumers.
Trade union Solidarity releases a survey on banking fees every year. Last year, it found that Absa, the priciest bank, had become more expensive and that bank fees were climbing in South Africa.
"I know many people are concerned that fees to use banks in South Africa are too high, but I believe that when charges have fallen it has been on track with good business practices in the industry," Mr Nxasana said. "Given a difficult and uncertain economy to navigate around, I think our banks are on the right track in managing customer charges."
He told the summit that as an industry, banking had added value since the 2008-09 recession. "The banking inquiry in 2008 spoke about reducing bank fees and we responded accordingly," he said.
Mr Gnodde said that while reputatio
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