July 10, 2017 13:40 ET

SaskCentral disappointed in federal regulator's decision to ban use of common terms "to bank" and "banking" by credit unions

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - July 10, 2017) - On Friday, June 30, the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued an advisory that essentially banned credit unions from using the term "banking" to describe the services they offer Canadians. Their advisory takes a strict interpretation of the Bank Act, and based on this interpretation, the federal government could lay criminal charges against any credit union that uses the term "bank," "banker," or "banking".

"We are obviously disappointed in this decision. It goes against all elements of common vernacular, and puts credit unions at a distinct disadvantage," explains Keith Nixon, SaskCentral CEO. "Credit unions offer the same financial services as federally chartered banks, and have the same or higher deposit protection as banks. This decision by OSFI makes it extremely difficult for credit unions in Saskatchewan, and across this country, to compete fairly and without the fear of facing criminal penalty."

Credit unions have used the verb "bank" and the term "banking" to describe what they do, without penalty, for years with the tacit support of federal officials.

"OSFI has taken a position that is inconsistent with its past practices and with common sense," said Martha Durdin, president and CEO, Canadian Credit Union Association. "The Minister has the power to fix this so that Canadians continue to have a real competitive option to the big banks."

For over eighty years, credit unions have been a part of the fabric of Saskatchewan. Through a complete suite of financial services they contribute to the strength and economic stability of their communities, helping to build lives and adding to the well-being of individuals, families and businesses.

About SaskCentral - SaskCentral is owned by Saskatchewan credit unions to serve and represent their collective interests. There are 46 credit unions in Saskatchewan serving more than 474,000 members. As independent financial institutions owned and controlled by their members, credit unions are shaped by community needs. Credit unions contribute approximately $600 million in annual economic impact to Saskatchewan's economy, employing almost 3,500 people and contributing millions to communities across the province.

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