A representative of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) denied allegations from Saba residents and businesses on Friday, that the bank’s system was overcharging customers and blocking employees’ pay. Patricia Borger, a regional marketing manager for RBC, said bank employees were “working full force to…look after our clients [and] make sure everything is correct.” She responded to allegations levied this week by business leaders on Saba. St. Maarten has had similar problems with its RBC branches. She refuted suggestions that the bank was spiking fees for customers and pledged to fix any problems that might have affected businesses. “If there was anything incorrectly charged to a client’s account, we are reversing these,” said Borger, the bank’s liaison for the Caribbean and Surinam. “We don’t have to do it client by client, we’re doing a mass reversal because it has become transparent to us what has been charged as error and we’ve been able to reverse that.”
On Saba, business leaders condemned what they called the bank’s reckless addition of charges and said other banks, including on St. Maarten, had lost confidence in RBC-Saba customers. “We are really concerned because we have limited financial services on the island and it does seem the RBC customers are duped,” said Saba Business Association President Wolfgang Tooten. “We need answers.” He complained that the island’s sole RBC automated teller machine often malfunctioned; he also lamented the loss of business for his membership. Borger said Tooten was wrong. “Actually our ATM machines have only been down two or three per cent of the time,” Borger said, insisting that the malfunctions were rare and that they did not affect clients’ businesses. She also called complaints about RBC’s net banking system exaggerated. She did, however, acknowledge the bank had noticed “challenges” in its operations since launching the system. She said many were misunderstandings. “Some clients will see different messages on their bank statements,” Borger said. “You might see things look different, but it is very important to know that mathematically the account is correct.” Clients in Saba and St. Maarten said the same online banking problems led to their utilities services being disconnected, after the bank allegedly missed payments to service providers.
Borger was adamant, “Absolutely that is all untrue. If people are stating that their salaries have not been paid, they absolutely have been paid.” Asked for a solution about clients who are unable to gauge the levels of their accounts, Borger said clients can get an accurate printout from a human teller. She again insisted that the bank was operating well, denying claims that other banks and even the same RBC-Saba branch, were refusing cheques. “What you are saying to me is absolutely untrue,” said Borger, guessing that it is possible that “something is wrong with the actual cheque.” The Saba Chamber of Commerce said that business owners were opting to deplete their RBC accounts or leave them inactive in the wake of the problems. “We take these statements very seriously and we do act on them immediately,” said Borger, promising to visit Saba to allay clients’ concerns.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 3013-07-06