TORONTO – When COVID-19 took hold over a year ago, Canadian banks were asked to offer deferrals of mortgages, credit cards and other loans to help people get through the pandemic.
But Canada’s big banks have started to make record profits again, and some groups say they could do more to help their customers.
ACORN Canada held protests in more than a dozen cities across the country on Tuesday, including toronto’s financial district.
Protesters say Canadian bank presidents earned an average of nearly $ 11 million each in 2020 and that several banks have seen their profits more than double.
This comes at a time when some banks are raising fees.
ACORN, which represents low- and moderate-income families, said customers are being scammed with unfair fees on their accounts, insufficient cash check fees and high interest charges on credit cards.
“We are asking the bank to stop the NSF charges. We are asking them to stop fees for accounts that have a bank customer under $ 4,000, ”protester Marva Burnett told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.
Another bank client and protester, Sheila Prosper, asked, “If your bank account is short of a dollar, why should they be able to charge you an NSF fee of $ 48?” “
ACORN is calling on banks to reduce fees (NSF) to at least $ 10 or not charge them all together.
He said banks should provide low-interest or zero-interest loans to low-income people and stop funding predatory lenders.
“We’re billed for bad checks, we’re billed for not having enough money in the bank, and we’re even billed to withdraw our own money,” bank client Toni Corrado told CTV News Toronto.
According to ACORN, Canadian banks charge some of the highest fees in the world and the Ottawa-based Democracy Watch group agrees.
“Four of the six Canadian banks in 2020 were among the 50 most profitable banks in the world, although they are much smaller than many other banks, they still made more money” Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch , mentionned.
Conacher said there are more consumer protections for bank customers in the United States, along with increased competition over fees and interest limits on credit cards.
“Our banks have been shielded from foreign competition and subsidized and allowed to dominate all sectors of the financial services market by the government,” Conacher said.
Conacher said high banking costs should be a federal election issue.
“It’s going to take a finance minister and a ruling political party that actually cares about about 25 million bank customers instead of protecting a few bank CEOs and their multi-million dollar salaries,” Conacher said.
Democracy Watch also launched a petition, which garnered 120,000 signatures from Canadians calling on the federal government to do more to end excessive fees.
CTV News has contacted Canada’s five largest banks and we have their statements below.
Given the financial challenges many Canadians face during this pandemic, RBC has chosen not to increase fees on retail bank accounts and we have no plans to increase in 2021. We understand as the financial needs and expectations of our clients are constantly changing and we continue to create ways to help them save money and manage their finances more effectively. One of them is to simplify our account offering to focus on the basic banking features that Canadians want. Our new RBC Advantage bank account offers customers no minimum balances, unlimited debit transactions in Canada, and no RBC fees to use another bank’s ATM, among other benefits. As always, customers are encouraged to contact us with any questions or concerns to ensure they have the banking options and advice that best meet their needs.
We offer a range of competitive banking packages designed to meet the daily needs of Canadians and look for opportunities to add value to our packages, including identity theft protection service, free credit score review and a family package that helps families under the same roof. save on fees. In addition, we are proud to offer free banking options to several groups across Canada, including youth, students, seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and members of the military and defense community. Canadian. During the pandemic, we provided financial assistance to hundreds of thousands of Canadians, including deferred payments on mortgages and credit products, and removed fees for personal banking customers facing financial difficulties. We continue to work with Canadians on an individual basis to assist them during this time.
Our fees are among the lowest of any major Canadian bank and we are available at any time to discuss a range of plans and offers that can help our clients save money. Many fees are avoidable and most account plans are unaffected by upcoming changes
SCOTIA BANK STATEMENT
We encourage our customers with questions or concerns about their banking products and services to contact us to discuss their options and ensure they have the products and services that best meet their needs.
TD BANK STATEMENT
In this case, we are relying on the CBA to provide a response on behalf of the industry.
CANADIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION STATEMENT
Canadian banks have provided fundamental support to clients through every stage of the pandemic, standing with Canadians to manage financial difficulties and position the country for a strong and lasting recovery. Banks have implemented large-scale assistance programs to help affected customers, including nearly 800,000 mortgage deferrals, deferred payments on over 1.2 million customer accounts for other credit products , and between March 2020 and February 2021 waived more than $ 112 million in personal account fees.