CONSUMERS interested in taking a loan or investing in a time deposit can rest assured sufficient information will be disclosed to them under a revised policy guideline on fees and charges of licensed credit institutions in Fiji.
The policy — Banking Supervision Policy Statement No.8B (Revised 2012): Accountability and Disclosure Guidelines on Interest Rates, Fees and Charges for Licensed Credit Institutions in Fiji — was released by the Reserve Bank of Fiji yesterday.
RBF governor Barry Whiteside said the policy statement was the culmination of three years of work towards ensuring customers received sufficient information before deciding to take a loan or invest, during the term of the loan or deposit and when it is paid off.
"The requirements were carefully chosen to provide customers with relevant information to enable them to make sound decisions after comparing carefully the features and costs of products available," he said in a statement.
The policy guideline imposes several new disclosure requirements including key initiatives on standardisation and details on fees, charges and interest rates to be disclosed.
RBF says standardisation aims to ensure greater transparency and comparability of fees, charges and interest rates across the different institutions while the level of details required is aimed at assuring customers of the likely total cost of borrowings or net returns they will receive from deposits before a decision is made.
"The policy is applicable to Home Finance Co Ltd, Merchant Finance and Investment Co Ltd and Credit Corporation (Fiji) Ltd, the three licensed credit institutions in Fiji.
"It is a review of the July 2002 Disclosure of Fees and Charges Policy which credit institutions have implemented over the past 10 years." The revised policy requirements became effective October 1 while provisions requiring non-system changes such as updating and printing of revised fees and charges brochures and updating letters of offer, will become effective January 1, 2013.
"Credit institutions have also been given time to implement other long-term changes," RBF said.
Customers have been urged to make good use of the information provided by banks and credit institutions to ensure they understood what they were buying and how much they would pay for the product or service.
Meanwhile, Mr Whiteside said the revision completed the first phase of the Reserve Bank's work on reforming fees and charges issued by licensed credit institutions in the country. The second phase is already in progress and will review all current fees and charges of these credit institutions.