Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

October 07, 2009 18:20 ET

Canadian Consumers Lose Again

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - In response to a letter sent today to banks by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty changing long-standing insurance rules under the Bank Act, the Canadian Bankers Association issued the following statement:

We are completely shocked that Mr. Flaherty would want to limit how and where consumers can access information about insurance. Further, Mr. Flaherty has taken this step without any public consultations with Canadians or the banking industry.

The Bank Act permits banks to offer a full range of insurance products through insurance company subsidiaries. These subsidiaries provide insurance to their customers using a variety of permitted channels and for years, one of those channels has been through the Internet. The rules here are very clear and have been in place for several years.

In June, OSFI looked at this and issued a ruling saying that a bank website is not a bank branch and that banks are in compliance with the Bank Act when they promote insurance products on their websites. We heard no concerns from the government when OSFI issued its ruling, but it's clear that the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada has been lobbying to have this ruling overturned.

The federal government and all parliamentarians are focused on the enormous challenges of managing the Canadian economy in the face of a global recession. Canada's banking industry has been a proud partner with the government to help with Canada's economic recovery.

In the middle of an economic crisis, when others including Canada's banks are working cooperatively with government and all parliamentarians, is no time to surprise Canadians with changes that limit access to basic financial products.

It is clear that the losers here are consumers, who will be denied access to the information they need to make informed financial decisions.

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 50 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 263,400 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions. www.cba.ca.

Contact Information