Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trust still missing on cheque posting

By CHESTER ROBARDS

Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMIANS are still seeing their deposited cheques take several days to clear despite the launch of the Bahamas Automated Clearing House (ACH), but its general manager told Tribune Business yesterday that the system was running fine.

Brian Smith said the ACH was not to blame for the length of time some cheques take to clear. He added that some commercial banks simply impose their own rules on their cheque clearing system. And while depositors should see money credited to their accounts by the end of the second business day after making the cheque deposit, some banks still have longer holds on cheques. One banking official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said banks still can't trust their account holders to not overdraw their accounts or write a bad cheque, so longer holds are still necessary despite the ACH.

Mr Smith said the commercial banks are often extremely competitive and therefore advancements, such as the advent of the ACH, are staggered in their use. "People need to ask their banks," he said. "It has nothing to do with ACH." He added that the ACH's next big move is to facilitate bulk direct credit.

According to him, they are awaiting on the commercial banks to complete their final customer agreements in order to bring online a direct deposit system that can be used by employers to electronically pay their employees, greatly reducing the need for paper cheques.

While it is not know how long it will take for the direct deposit system to become functional, the ACH is also focused on developing a comprehensive network Internet banking portal that will allow the transfer of funds through the Internet from one bank to another. "Internet banking is not ready yet, but all the banks are looking into getting that ready," said Mr Smith. "The next thing to come online will be bulk payments. If we can do bulk payments that's a huge step forward."

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