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ALBAS: How the word 'bank' is being taken from credit unions

Dan Albas, member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.
July 09, 2017 - 3:30 PM

 


OPINION


Editor,

Do you bank with a credit union? Soon, thanks to the long arm of Ottawa, that may come to an end.

You see, last week the federal agency responsible for regulating banks and other financial institutions quietly issued new regulations that will damage the thousands of credit unions and caisses populaires that operate across our country.

The regulations issue a blanket prohibition on the use of terms like “bank”, “banker”, and “banking” by basically any entity other than the big banks. Credit unions, who have traditionally been allowed to use common terms like “bank with us” or “online banking”, will no longer be allowed to do so.

And why the sudden change?

No explanation has been forthcoming. This has left credit unions and their customers confused as to why they would want to change a decades-old practice. The result of these changes will be increased costs for credit unions, which will have to pay for changes to signage and other marketing. Moreover, it will put them at a further competitive disadvantage when compared to the big banks.

Over the past several months, credit unions and Parliamentarians alike have reached out to the regulator and to the Finance Minister to strongly oppose these changes. In fact, at an all-party credit union caucus meeting on Parliament Hill, MPs and Senators from all parties agreed that these changes were unnecessary and harmful. Unfortunately their views seem to have fallen on deaf Liberal ears.

There are over 300 credit unions nationwide that serve over 5.5 million members. Credit unions provide a community-focused approach to finances and are regularly recognized as leaders in customer service.

Instead of making business harder for these important institutions, we should be looking for ways to help ensure that credit unions can thrive and prosper in our communities.
It is not too late for the Finance Minister to step in and change these regulations. I call on him to do the right thing.

What can you do? Contact your local MP and tell them you value banking with your credit union and to stop this regulatory attack against credit unions and caisses populaires.

My question for you this week is do you agree with this decision to restrict credit unions from being able to use words like “bank”, “banker”, and “banking”? I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


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