Minister to meet bank executives

FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan is to meet bank executives in coming weeks to quiz them about how they plan to respond to complaints of high bank charges and to discuss their pay packets.

Gordhan, who delivered his Budget in Parliament yesterday, also announced an easing of exchange control regulations as of March 1 that will allow local banks to take on foreign exposure of up to 25percent in their total liability book, excluding equities.

The proportion originally mooted several years ago was 40percent, but Treasury officials said this had been reduced "in light of recent international developments".

Gordhan said he would meet the chief executives of the four major banks "to discuss firm deadlines to respond to the recommendations of the Competition Commission" about bank charges.

In a report 18 months ago the commission accused banks of levying excessive charges and fees.

Nedbank chief executive Tom Boardman, who is chairperson of the banking association, said he was looking forward to the meeting.