Decision #28929-694Q104

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 28929-694Q104

Compliance issue 

Branch Closure – Request to vary the time and manner in which notice is required to be given when the closure of a branch is in response to a risk to the safety of the personnel of the branch or public

Bank Act, s 459.2(1)
Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations, ss. 4(1)(a), 5(2), 8(1)(b), 8(2)(a) 

A bank branch was destroyed by fire. The bank decided to close the branch and temporarily relocate staff and customers to a new branch located approximately 1 km from the destroyed branch. 

As a result of the fire, the branch was unable to provide four months’ advance notice to the customers, the public and the Commissioner, as required by the Regulations. The bank requested that the Commissioner vary the time by which the notice must be given, in accordance with sections 4(1)(a) and 5(2) of the Regulations. 

Section 8(1)(b) of the Regulations states that the Commissioner may, at the request of a member bank, vary the manner and time in which notice is otherwise required to be given. Section 8(2)(a) of the same regulations specifies that this request to vary may be granted in circumstances where the closure or cessation is in response to a risk to the safety of the personnel of the branch or to the public. 

Compliance measure(s) taken 

The request to vary the time in which notice is to be given was granted.

Compliance considerations

The circumstances surrounding the sudden closure, which ultimately led to the decision to close the branch temporarily, were beyond the bank’s control. The new temporary receiving branch would be located nearby, approximately 1 km from the site of the destroyed branch. The branch posted satisfactory notices for customers and the public.

Corrective measures taken by financial institution 

Following the fire, the bank: 

  • relocated business to the next nearest branch within days;
  • installed a full-service automatic banking machine (ABM) across the street from the destroyed branch;
  • posted a notice at the site of the fire informing customers of the temporary branch location (the notice included a 1-800 telephone number for any questions customers or the public might have);
  • placed an advertisement in the local paper to advise customers of the location of the new branch, which was under construction at the time; and
  • provided all customers with a personalized closure notice. 

Outcome 

In this case, after evaluating the potential impact on consumers, the Commissioner used his discretion to grant the request to vary. The bank took satisfactory measures under the circumstances to ensure that consumers were aware of their rights and of the opportunity explore, with their bank, ways of easing any negative impact the closure may have on their lives and on the community as a whole.

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