Savings Accounts that Save Part II

Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) recently infomed their customers about changes in their savings accounts. They quoted market & customer research, and recent amendments to the banking act which required that banks are to pay interest on savings accounts as long as customers maintain the account minimums and banks are not to levy charges on saving accounts, or fixed deposit.

CBA resolves this matter, by giving their savings account customers two options to convert their accounts into either
– A low cost account transactions account (called Freedom) that charges 200 shillings ($2.67) per month but comes with unlimited ATM withdrawals and a waiver of first year of a credit card fee.
– A Savings account (called Nufaika) that has a minimum balance of 3,000 ($40), pays interest semi-annually and also comes with the offer of a personal loan amount bases on 75% of savings. It has not fees, no bank charges, but interest will only be paid on balances above 30,000 shillings ($400)

And while CBA is not known to be a low cost bank, they will by default, move all their savings accounts holders into the Freedom a/c (i.e. (low balance, no interest paid out, but steady monthly income for bank), unless the customers opt for the Nufaika a/c option.

CBA is being upfront about the banking act, something most banks are not being forthright with their customers about. Banks have a variety of charges levied against savings accounts including withdrawal of cash over the counter or by ATM, a fee when the a/c balance drops below the ‘minimum’, interim statement (per page), new ATM card or replacement, and closure of account. All this means that the banks profit from charges while depositors have holes through which their savings leak out instead of grow

bank charges are savings holes

The relevant clause on Savings Accounts in the Kenya Banking Act (PDF),is 16 (A) which states:

No institution shall impose any form of charges on a savings, seven day call or fixed deposits account. and an institution shall, in respect of a savings account, pay interest accruing, to that account as long as the minimum balance is maintained.

CBA is complying now, but its’ clear that banks have been flouting the act for some years now, despite repeated pronouncements for them to comply with the savings rules.

The Central Bank Governor has also made futile calls for banks to increase their deposit payment rates to match their lending rates, or vice versa – lower their lending rates (12% to 25% to be in line with the low rates they pay on deposits (2-7%)

What savings account charges (if any) are levied at your Bank?

7 thoughts on “Savings Accounts that Save Part II

  1. Anonymous

    CBA may be open about it but the fact remains that their offer is quite lousy and doesn’t stand up to competition (compare with NIC savings deal – and they never used to charge)…

    The only other crap banks I can think of are the rest of them all.

    Choosing the right bank is the first step to financial freedom.

  2. Anonymous

    ..and there’s the official translation for the few Kenyans who don’t speak chinese yet:

    “Chong ching chong chai kwai wai lai ping wing wung yu pang hu ha lai. Wu-tang klan represent yo! 4sheeeeiiiiiiizzle”


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