Banks must share some culpability for some persons being robbed of large sums in cash

Dear Editor,

I refer to a story entitled ‘Bus driver robbed by armed bandits of $6m’ in your newspaper dated December 20. I offer that the banks in Guyana must share some culpability for persons being robbed of large sums of cash. Our banking sector is primitive and way behind its Caribbean neighbours (even in instances where it is the same banks and they know better) in the development of appropriate financial products and instruments for our society. Why in the year 2017 must a person conduct business in six million Guyana dollars or approximately US$30,000  in cash.

Despite numerous similar occurrences, the financial institutions turn a blind eye and appear to be tone deaf, refusing to attempt to figure out what they can do to prevent it from recurring. Customers are often not advised not to conduct business in cash. Getting a credit card is for the elite or you must show your birthmark to the bank. ATM debit cards can only work at the bank’s ATM machine, so you must travel to a specific machine to get cash. ATM machines are sparse, old and run out of cash.  Few merchants use ATM transactions.  The banks seem to believe that their only responsibility is to make profit at their customers’ expense whilst the human element is all but gone from their services, as is evident by the non-existence of senior citizens lines or facilities in some; little or no seating accommodation; lack of access facilities for the disabled; and no bathrooms for the public who are forced to spend hours on a simple transaction.

Guyanese financial consumers deserve better.

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address provided)

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