The Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Labour Minister made a big announcement a few weeks ago which was condemned by this column for complicity with duping the Bahamian consumer. Both of them claimed that they had agreed with the clearing house banks of The Bahamas on reduction of fees by the banks. The banks continue the rip off of their customers. The services have deteriorated. No longer can you get someone to answer the telephone in The Bahamas when you call a local bank. The family islands have been stripped of service and left unbanked. The managers at local banks have no authority to clear cheques or advance credit. The banks do not return correspondence. The deterioration affects poor workers, particularly at entry level. Viz, an employer says that you must have a bank account to work for them. The Scotiabank says you need 200 dollars to open a bank account. If you are unemployed where will you get 200 dollars from. Then you get your pay cheque. You bank with Scotia and not with Royal Bank of Canada. Royal Bank is where the cheque is drawn. So off you go. Since you are not a customer, 18 dollars comes out of the cheque to cash it. So, you decide you will deposit it in your own bank Scotia, but you need your money right away. Scotia takes routinely two days to clear the cheque. Except, there is an additional hurdle, the day you get your cheque is a Thursday and the Monday of the following week is a public holiday. That means effectively the cheque will not clear until the Tuesday. So, you will be without your pay for four days. Disgraceful. The choice is losing 18 dollars from your minimum wage cheque or wait four days without any money. Some have said that the food stores will cash the cheque. Bless them but this is not the way to bank. The Labour Minister and the Central Bank cannot pretend that this is the way things should be. They have nothing to boast about.