Bank of Khartoum’s new transaction rates draw mixed reactions in Darfur

The latest increase in money transfer and financial transaction fees introduced by the Bank of Khartoum has sparked mixed reactions among residents of Sudan’s Darfur region.

The latest increase in money transfer and financial transaction fees introduced by the Bank of Khartoum has sparked mixed reactions among residents of Sudan’s Darfur region.

The new rates include an increase in the commission fee for internal transfers via the bank’s mobile application, Bankak, from 20 to 100 Sudanese Pounds, in addition to a stamp duty fee of 10 pounds attributed by the bank’s management to estimates from the Tax Department.

The adjustments also covered the exchange rates of the US dollar and other foreign currencies against the Sudanese Pound due to the depreciation of the local currency in official transactions and the parallel market, according to a statement from the bank.

Bank of Khartoum is one of the most popular banks among citizens in the Darfur region and it dominates financial transactions in the region through the Bankak application.

The application is considered the most widely used financial transfer method, especially after the closure of government and commercial bank branches due to war. All the branches of different banks in Darfur were subjected to looting and vandalism.

A former bank employee, Ashraf al-Rayyah, pointed out that the Bank of Khartoum is one of the leading banks in Sudan and neighboring countries.

“The bank has continued to offer quality services despite the ongoing war and the security and economic situation in the country necessitates the bank’s adaptation to the current situation hence the increase in tax values ​​as reflected in the new transaction fees,” he explained.

The former banker said customers used to neglect reading the bank’s terms and conditions when opening accounts but have now been forced to understand.

“Inflation in the country has contributed to the rise in prices of goods and services, necessarily leading to an increase in transfer fees,” he enlightened. “Operational challenges during the war require more spending on operating systems, maintenance, and labor, among other costs of service continuity, which imposes an increase in fees on the bank.”

For his part, Murtada Ahmed, an administration expert, described the Bank of Khartoum as a commercial bank whose mission is to maximize profits.

“In most cases, profitable companies do not consider ethical aspects, despite the significant service provided by the bank to citizen customers through the Bankak application,” he said. “The conditions of war have increased the administrative and financial problems of the bank, justifying the direction of the increase.”

Ahmed however described the new transfer rates as high and unjustified considering the current situation of the Sudanese people.

“The bank employs public trust to enhance its market dominance and exploits the conditions of customers who currently have no option other than Bank of Khartoum and its digital applications,” he charged.

Meanwhile, Manahil Yusuf, an accounting expert, took a more extreme stance toward the Bank of Khartoum’s policies, saying its new decisions were unethical.

She warned the bank against exploiting customers in times of crisis and said the bank’s current policies would negatively impact public interest in the bank.

“The clients will be forced to comply with the bank’s policies even if the bank doubles the rates again, as there are no options available to citizens under the current circumstances, except to comply with the bank’s wishes,” she stated. “However, the clients will have a different opinion about the bank after the crisis subsides and they will remember the opportunistic tendencies adopted by the bank during times of hardship.”

She warned that the Bank of Khartoum may lose customers in the future and end up incurring losses due to its current avaricious financial policies.