Shop around for the 'right' bank

ST JOHN’S — Consumers might be selling themselves short by not shopping around for competitive bank rates.

According to Director of the Prices & Consumer Affairs Division, Hildred Simpson, of the 250 people randomly selected for its consumer survey on the types and cost of services offered by financial institutions in Antigua & Barbuda, 60 per cent have remained with their initial institution.

“Whereas consumers believe to themselves that the cost is very high, they tend not to shuffle around. So then you ask the question: Is it that there is not enough competition for consumers?” Simpson said.

The director said although the cost at banks, insurance companies and credit unions are high, customers might believe “there is no value” in switching allegiances.

“There is just not that competition, so you are not finding a better deal easily. Or is it a case where you are at this institution and, yes, the cost is high, but the service is extremely good, so I stick with my company?” the director said.

The studies also revealed that 31 per cent of “movers” to new financial companies have found the process of transferring to be “difficult”. Although this is the case, 41 per cent of those surveyed have initiated moves within the past year.

Simpson was not shocked, however, that 68 per cent of respondents believed that the price of insurance was “high”, with 28 per cent of that amount saying that costs were “very high.”

“That wasn’t a surprise. If anything, we would have thought it would have been a lot more,” Simpson said.

“Generally speaking, most persons tend to think that the costs of doing business with banks and insurance services are extremely high.” (Antigua Observer)

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