Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

April 10, 2013 15:59 ET

FCAC Clarifies Banking Complaint Resolution Processes

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 10, 2013) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) today released two documents that will help consumers resolve disputes with banks and other federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs).

"I am pleased that we were able to finalize these documents following input that we received during our consultations last summer. What we heard reinforced the importance of having a strong complaint-handling process in place," said Ursula Menke, FCAC Commissioner.

All banks are required by legislation to maintain procedures and staff to deal with consumer complaints. Banks should work to resolve complaints through their own internal processes, whenever possible. This promotes confidence in the financial system, allows consumers to understand the process and gives industry members the opportunity to not only resolve disputes, but also to monitor their compliance with the provisions of the Acts, voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments that are designed to protect financial consumers.

Following consultations launched by FCAC in July 2012, the Agency has now finalized the Commissioner's Guidance-Internal Dispute Resolution and the Application Guide for External Complaint Bodies. A summary of the comments received during the consultation period is available on FCAC's website.

Commissioner's Guidance-Internal Dispute Resolution

The Guidance outlines the principles that FCAC considers essential for the establishment of an effective, efficient and accountable internal dispute resolution (IDR) process to help ensure that FRFIs handle consumer disputes in a competent manner. If the dispute cannot be successfully resolved through the IDR process, consumers will have an opportunity to escalate their concern to an external complaints body (ECB).

Application Guide for External Complaint Bodies

Regulations announced by the Minister of Finance establish criteria for: Ministerial approval of ECBs; maintaining that approval; and obligations of banks and authorized foreign banks in respect of ECBs and the complaints that they receive and deal with. These regulations will come into force on September 2, 2013.

Amendments to the Bank Act and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act establish FCAC as an oversight body for ECBs. FCAC's Application Guide for External Complaint Bodies sets out requirements that FCAC's Commissioner will consider when deciding whether to recommend to the Minister the approval of an ECB. Companies can submit their applications as of September 2, 2013, when the regulations come into force.

Related documents:

Press release issued by the Department of Finance, April 10, 2013

Department of Finance Final Regulations and Regulatory Impact Analysis statement

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through FCAC's Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website:

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