Decision #19744-463Q205

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 19744-463Q205

Commissioner’s Decision 

Compliance issue 

Public commitment – Low-cost accounts — Failure to comply with a public commitment to offer consumers a low-cost account
FCAC Act, paragraph 3(2)(c)Footnote 1  

In 2003, a bank renewed its public commitment to provide low-cost accounts. The bank committed to providing accounts that met the guidelines set out by the Government to ensure that all Canadians have access to affordable basic banking services. 

Paragraph 3(2)(c) of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) Act states that one of FCAC’s objectives is to “monitor the implementation of voluntary codes of conduct that are designed to protect the interests of customers of financial institutions, that have been adopted by financial institutions and that are publicly available, and to monitor any public commitments made by financial institutions that are designed to protect the interests of their customers”. 

In the summer of 2004, while gathering information from financial institutions to update its publication The Cost of Banking Guide, FCAC noted that the bank in question was charging additional monthly fees to customers making online transactions. However, the bank had previously committed to offering a low-cost account that included a fixed number of transactions at a monthly cost of no more than $4. By applying an additional fee for online transactions, the bank had, in effect, increased its fees to more than the maximum amount indicated. 

Decision taken 

The Commissioner confirmed the findings of non-compliance of the Director, Compliance and Industry Relations. 

Compliance considerations 

FCAC has not received any consumer complaints on this issue regarding the bank in question. 

Measures taken by the financial institution 

Following this incident, the bank took the necessary measures to comply with its public commitment, by modifying the fee structure of its low-cost account. 

Results 

Clients who have a low-cost account with this bank will have access to a fixed number of transactions, including electronic transactions, for a fee of no more than $4 per month. 

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