Branch closure — Failure to notify Commissioner within required time
Bank Act, s. 459.2
Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations, s. 4(1)(a)(i)
A bank failed to notify the Commissioner four months before the proposed date of two branch closures.
Subparagraph 4(1)(a)(i) of the Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations requires that notice be given to the Commissioner in writing no later than four months before the proposed date of the closure if the branch is in an urban area.
The bank informed consumers of the branch closure within the required time and fully disclosed to consumers their right to request that the Commissioner order a public meeting. The failure to inform the Commissioner on time was the result of a clerical error. Since the bank customers had received all the required information within the prescribed time, the clerical error was found to have no major impact on the bank’s customers. There were no prior violations noted against the bank.
Corrective measures taken by financial institution
- Reviewed internal processes and re-designed them to meet regulatory requirements under the Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations.
- Centralized process to include one control point for managing the requirements and ensuring efficient monitoring of related activities.
- Sent internal communications, including FCAC brochure What you should know if your branch closes, to Divisional and District Executives to increase awareness of the legislative obligations under the Regulations.
By ensuring that the Commissioner is made aware of all branch closures, FCAC is able to monitor proactively to make certain that consumers have been provided adequate notice of the branch closure and that they have received all of the information required. When consumers are given sufficient notice of a branch closure they are in a better position to make informed choices and find alternatives to their current banking services. By making certain that consumers are aware of the conditions under which the Commissioner can require a public meeting, FCAC and the bank ensure that consumers have the opportunity to communicate openly with their bank and explore ways of easing any negative impact the closure may have on their lives and on the community as a whole.
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