Decision — File #17381-336Q107
Confirmation of Violation
Cost of Borrowing — Failure to provide borrowers with regular supplementary credit card disclosure statements
Bank Act, paragraph 452(2)(e)
Cost of Borrowing (Banks) Regulations, subsection 12(5)
The Financial Consumer of Canada (FCAC) received a self-reported complaint from a bank regarding a customer who had not received any monthly credit card statements for the months when she made payments within a billing period that brought her outstanding balance to zero. FCAC reviewed the issue and found that this was an established bank policy and applied to all consumers in the same situation.
Subsection 12(5) of the Regulations stipulates that a bank that issues credit cards must provide borrowers with supplementary disclosure statements on a regular periodic basis, at least once a month. The statements must contain key information such as an itemized statement of account that describes each transaction and discloses each amount credited or charged to the customer's account.
FCAC issued a Notice of Violation against the bank, noting one violation of the Cost of Borrowing (Banks) Regulations and proposing a penalty of $5,000. The bank paid the penalty, and FCAC closed the file.
The violation occurred as a result of established bank policy to not provide monthly statements to clients that paid their credit card balance in full and made no other transactions within a billing period. The Regulations are clear that a statement must be provided if a payment was made to the account.
Considering that the Regulations have been in effect since September 2001, FCAC is of the view that the bank has had ample time to comply with the legislative requirements.
As a result of the bank's policy, consumers affected by this policy were unable to review key pieces of information related to their credit card account that the Regulations required be provided to them.
Measures taken by the financial institution
The bank acknowledged the violation and implemented changes to its systems to rectify the compliance problem.
The intent of the Regulations is to ensure that consumers are informed about their credit accounts. Informed consumers are in a better position to make financially sound decisions.
In this case, FCAC ensured that borrowers receive monthly statements so they can reconcile their accounts and have basic information such as the payment due date, the payments made, the charges to their accounts and the interest rate charged.
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