Decision — File #15661-489Q206

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Confirmation of Violation

Compliance issue

  • Access to Basic Banking – Failure to properly disclose the conditions to open a deposit account and the identification requirements for cashing a federal government cheque
  • Bank Act, section 448.1(1), 458.1(1)
  • Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations, subsection 13(a) and 14(a)

As a result of its annual examination filed on November 1, 2004, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) identified that a bank failed to display and make available in their branches copies of a publication that properly disclosed what conditions a person would have to meet in order to open a retail deposit account and what personal identification is required for a bank to cash a Government of Canada cheque. This disclosure is required by subsection 13(a) and 14(a) of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations.

Action taken

A notice of violation was issued to the bank noting two violations of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations, and proposing a penalty of $5,000. The bank paid the penalty and the file was closed.

Compliance considerations

The regulations have been in force since September 30, 2003.

The bank stated that while it had errors in its printed publication, its employees had received the correct information during training on the regulations.

The bank stated that there were no cases where it refused to open a deposit account or cash a federal government cheque because the customer did not meet the conditions set out in the regulations.

FCAC has not recorded any previous complaints, violations or compliance agreements with this bank.

Measures taken by financial institution

As a result of FCAC's intervention, the bank corrected the information in its publication to accurately reflect the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations.

Outcomes

The Government of Canada established the Access to Basic Services Banking Regulations because of the importance of having a bank account to manage personal finances. Consumers who have access to a bank account are able to participate more effectively in the financial marketplace.

FCAC enables consumers to receive clear, concise information. In this case we ensured the bank displayed and made available accurate information regarding the conditions to be met in order to open a retail deposit account and the personal identification requirements necessary for the purpose of cashing Government of Canada cheques free of charge.

Informed consumers are in a better position to choose the financial institution and product or service that best suits their needs and banking habits.

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