Decision #22343-492Q204

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 22343-492Q204

Confirmation of violation

Compliance issue

Branch Closure — Request for a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and FCAC to discuss the closure further
Bank Act, s 459.2(2)
Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations, s. 9

A consumer requested that the Commissioner require a bank to convene and hold a meeting between the bank, interested parties and representatives of FCAC to further discuss the bank’s decision to close a branch.

According to subsection 459.2(2) of the Bank Act, the Commissioner may require the bank to convene and hold a meeting, in the vicinity of the branch, between representatives of the bank, interested parties and FCAC, in order to ensure that the bank had consulted the community sufficiently about the closure.

Section 9 of the Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations states that the Commissioner may require a public meeting in circumstances where a bank has not sufficiently consulted the community in the area affected by the closure of a branch, where an individual or community representative submits a written request to the Commissioner, and where the request is not frivolous or vexatious.

Decision taken

The Commissioner did not grant the request for a public meeting.

Considerations

The consumer brought forward a petition signed by approximately 100 additional community members requesting that the bank leave an automated banking machine at the location of the closing branch, since it was the only branch of that particular financial institution in the area.

The bank provided sufficient and proper notice to consumers, the public and the Commissioner prior to the closure, in accordance with the Regulations. As a method of consultation, the bank held a public meeting two months prior to the official request for another meeting. Two customers of the branch attended the meeting.

FCAC did not receive any other requests for public meetings or complaints about the closure.

Consultation measures taken by financial institution 

  • Informed local politicians in writing of the closure, including the mayor.
  • Provided customers with a dedicated toll-free telephone number to call in case they had any questions about the closure.
  • Voluntarily held a public meeting to discuss the closure further.

Outcomes

It is important that consumers be able to communicate openly with their bank in the event of a branch closure. This provides consumers and community members with an opportunity to explore ways of easing any negative impact the closure may have on them and on the community as a whole. In this case, the bank had consulted sufficiently with the community to ascertain its views and to ensure that consumers had the information they needed to assess their alternatives and plan for the closure.     

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