Monday, December 6, 2004
OTTAWA - Today, with Canada’s big six banks reporting a new record total
profit of $13.3 billion, the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition
(CCRC) called on federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and Industry Minister
David Emerson, and the whole federal Cabinet, to fulfill their responsibilities
of protecting financial consumers by requiring banks to prove their branch
closures have been justified, and to prove that their credit card interest
rates and service charges do not amount to gouging. Many federal
Liberals, including former Secretary of State for financial institutions
John McCallum (now Revenue Minister) have expressed concerns in the past
decade about banks’ gouging and withdrawal of branches from communities,
but the Liberals have done little to stop such unfair business practices.
“No corporation has a right to gouge or withdraw service unfairly, especially when providing an essential service such as banking,” said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the CCRC. "But the federal Liberals have allowed Canada’s super-rich big banks, their largest donors, to treat 20 million Canadian bank customers pretty much however they want."
Every poll conducted in the past decade has shown that 90% of Canadians believe banking is an essential service similar to heat, electricity, and phone service, but while companies providing those services are required by law to prove their prices are fair and to provide services across the country, the federal Liberals have allowed banks to charge whatever they want for most services, and to close branches in many, mostly low-income communities (creating a huge growth in even-worse-gouging cheque-cashing outlets).
The only protections in these areas the Liberals have passed are requirements that all of the banks provide a low-cost, no-frills bank account (which the banks have responded to by increasing charges in many other areas) and to give four to six months notice and consult with the community before closing a branch. Parliamentary hearings into credit card gouging begun in February 1997 were never completed.
The CCRC wants the government to require banks to:
For more information contact:
Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Chairperson of the CCRC
Tel: (613) 789-5753
Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition
P.O. Box 1040, Station B, Ottawa, Canada K1P 5R1
Tel: (613) 789-5753
Fax: (613) 241-4758
Copyright 2004 Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition