Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

May 25, 2012 10:20 ET

CBA President Praises Alberta's Economic Success

Strong Banks Play a Key Part in Helping Albertans Prosper

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2012) - In a breakfast speech to the Calgary Chamber today, Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) president Terry Campbell highlighted how bankers work to help Alberta communities and its economy flourish, and praised the province's strong growth and competitive tax regime.

"Employment in the banking sector has grown to 274,000 Canadians - and employment in banks in Alberta has grown by almost 10 per cent over the last 10 years," said Mr. Campbell. "A strong Alberta is important for a strong Canada, and I celebrate the success that this province and its entrepreneurs have achieved and will continue to achieve in the future."

He highlighted how Canada's strong banks have played a part in helping Alberta's economy boom.

"Last year in Alberta alone, banks authorized over $46 billion to the natural resources sector, $13 billion to the construction industry, over $8.7 billion to manufacturing and $7.5 billion in credit to the province's agriculture industry," he added. "If you carve out small and medium-sized enterprises as a whole, bank lending totalled almost $12 billion in this province alone."

In his remarks, Mr. Campbell congratulated Premier Alison Redford and all new and returning MLAs on their election, and pledged to continue the banking industry's long history of working with Albertans. He also praised the province's competitive taxation regime.

"You don't need me to tell you that Alberta has one of the most competitive tax regimes in North America. This has certainly helped to create a strong Albertan economy, which is a real positive for Canada's economy, and we commend the Alberta government for its approach," Mr. Campbell said. "Unfortunately, we're seeing some troubling trends in other provinces, particularly when it comes to taxing the capital of financial institutions, an approach that is perverse and counter-productive for the growth of the economy. Perverse, because banks are required to have large amounts of capital for safety and soundness reasons. Counter-productive, because capital supports lending and when you tax capital you are in effect taxing lending."

The continued need for a national securities regulator

Mr. Campbell also discussed the continued need for a national securities regulator and Ottawa's evolving approach to securities regulation following the Supreme Court of Canada ruling last December. Recognizing Alberta's long-standing concerns with a single regulator, Mr. Campbell noted:

"It's my strong belief that this province's concerns must be addressed as we move to a system that is more cohesive. We still believe that there are significant benefits to having a national system - a stronger international voice for Canada, better fraud prevention, stronger enforcement, and a streamlined process for investors."

He added: "We certainly encourage your government, and all provincial and territorial governments, to work with the federal government to develop a common securities regulatory regime that has the capacity to support fair and competitive markets for all Canadians."

Strong banks, effective regulation and supervision

Mr. Campbell also spoke about how banks in Canada came through the recent global financial crisis without any taxpayer funded bailouts, there were no bank failures and they continued to lend, which was not the case with many banks in many other countries around the world.

"I cannot emphasize enough the importance to our economy of having strong, properly functioning banks. You cannot have a strong economy without strong banks. And we cannot take this strength for granted. It's something that bankers, policy-makers and regulators must continually work at," said Mr. Campbell. "We have a strong, sound and profitable banking system in Canada. One that benefits the economies of Alberta and Canada. But also one that benefits bank customers - be they individual consumers or businesses large or small."

As governments and regulators move forward with implementing rules and policies that affect banks, Mr. Campbell urged them to consider whether these new rules will ensure that Canada's banking system is able to maintain its strength, its innovation and its service to customers. The opportunity for Canada through this process is to ensure that our banks retain their reputation, and their position, as being the strongest and soundest in the world.

The full text of Mr. Campbell's speech can be found on the CBA's website at the following link: http://www.cba.ca/contents/files/presentations/pre_20120525_calgary_en.pdf

About the Canadian Bankers Association

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 53 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 274,000 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 and works with banks and law enforcement to help protect customers against financial crime and promote fraud awareness. www.cba.ca.

Follow the CBA on Twitter: @CdnBankers

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