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CUENCA DIGESTMany bank charges set to drop July 1 under new rules

The cost of banking is about to get cheaper. Ecuador’s National Bank Board reported Thursday that 32 banks will lower their service costs by between 20% and 80% beginning July 1. "Bank customers will see charges reduced all over the country,” said Gloria Sabando, Superintendent of Banks.

Sabando provided examples of new rates for a variety of services including certified checks which will be reduced to $ 2.50 from $ 3.28; check-writing, 30 cents, down from 40 cents; ATM withdrawal fee, 50 cents from the current $1.15 when using ATM machines of another bank; and the issuance of a debit card, $5.15 from the current $6.44.

In addition to the reduction of some charges, Sabando said that 11 bank services will be provided free of charge, including the maintenance of checking and savings accounts and ATM withdrawals from the client's home institution, and for the maintenance of credit card accounts.

Although Sabando said the new rules will mean a short-term loss of revenue for some banks, she believes banks will make more money in the long-term. “We think these measures will attract more customers and, over time, this will mean increased revenues.”
 

NEW RULE HOPES TO DISCOURAGE ‘MARRIAGES OF CONVENIENCE' BETWEEN ECUADORIANS AND FORIEGNERS


Under a new Ecuadorian law, foreigners who want to marry Ecuadoreans will have to stay in the country at least 75 days before being allowed to participate a legal wedding. According to Ecuadorian immigration officials, the new law will allow the country to verify whether foreigners are arranging “marriages of convenience” for purpose of obtaining Ecuadorian citizenship and passports.  

The General Director of Civil Registration, Identification and Certification admitted that the new rule will presents obstacles for some legitimate marriages but says that waivers will be granted in cases where the 75-day rule presents a hardship.

The reason for the new rule, according to a government source, are increasing numbers of marriages of convenience involving Cubans and Chinese. “People are paying Ecuadorean nationals to marry them so they can obtain an Ecuadorean passport. Our intention is to put an end to these fake marriages.”

REGISTRATION OF STOLEN AND LOST CELL PHONES AIMS TO REDUCE PHONE THEFTS

Ecuador’s major cell phone providers have until August 31 to finish the registration of all mobile phones that have been stolen or lost. According to providers Alegro, Movistar and Porta, the registration process is well underway.

Ecuador’s National Telecommunications Council says the measure is intended to slow the rate of cell phone theft and subsequence resales. The office says that the fact that stolen phones and the phone number can be resold is fueling an epidemic of thefts across the country.

Phone providers agree with the new measures. "It is important to mention that we have a system of information exchange between operators to ensure that stolen phone numbers are not activated in other companies," says a press release from Movistar.

With the database of stolen and lost phones, resales will be illegal and it will be easier to victims of phone thefts to quickly have their service restored on a new phone.