Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

October 22, 2007 12:26 ET

FCAC Demonstrates Value for Canadians in its 2006-07 Annual Report

Web site traffic almost doubles as more consumers visit the Agency on-line to find objective financial information

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2007) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) today released its 2006-07 Annual Report.

The report shows that almost 1.45 million people visited FCAC's Web site in 2006-07, an 89 percent increase over the 766,000 visitors to the site in the previous year. And more people than ever are downloading FCAC publications from the Web.

"Working with stakeholders, we strive to ensure that the marketplace is fair and competitive and that consumers can make sound decisions based on clear and accurate disclosure from financial institutions," said Acting Commissioner Jim Callon. "For their own protection, consumers should know about the financial products and services they use. With the necessary knowledge, they can reach informed decisions and help to make the marketplace more competitive."

In 2006-07, FCAC continued to improve and add to its family of consumer education tools and publications:

- It developed a publication about pre-paid cards to help consumers compare these with other payment products.

- It developed a series of plain-language tip sheets for consumers, providing quick, clear and concise information on financial products and topical issues such as fraud and identity theft.

- It produced a plain-language DVD telling consumers how to open a bank account and cash a Government of Canada cheque for free. This will be distributed to federal government partners and non-governmental organizations.

- It redesigned its Web site, streamlining and organizing material so that visitors can find information more easily.

- It created the consumer Web portal moneytools.ca.

- It enhanced its Cost of Banking Guide interactive tool to provide more detail on banking packages. Consumers can now compare up to five packages at once or see all packages available by province.

- It continued to expand its Frequently Asked Questions database, which now has approximately 85 questions and answers.

As the federal market conduct regulator for federally regulated financial institutions, FCAC supervises banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies to ensure they comply with federal consumer protection measures that apply to them.

The Agency's supervision has a considerable impact on Canada's financial marketplace. For example, FCAC has promoted significant improvement to disclosure documents; it has verified the accuracy of information given to consumers about the way interest and fees are calculated; and it has ensured access to bank accounts. A single compliance case may lead to changes throughout the industry and improvements for thousands - or even millions - of Canadians.

"We are proud of our achievements to date. And we are aware that they have been possible because of the ongoing cooperation and responsiveness of our partners, key consumer groups, stakeholders and federally regulated financial institutions," said Acting Commissioner Callon.

FCAC's annual report is posted on its Web site at www.fcac.gc.ca. For print copies, call the Agency toll-free at 1-866-461-3222 (1-866-914-6097 for TTY service).

FCAC ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws, and monitors the codes of conduct and public commitments that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also provides consumers with accurate, objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions.

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