Decision #554322-84Q204

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 554322-84Q204

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 wrote to FCAC to request that the Commissioner call a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and FCAC to discuss the bank’s decision to close one of its branches. The consumer’s request included a petition signed by 21 affected customers. FCAC also received an additional and unrelated meeting request from another consumer for the same branch closure.

According to section 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, to exchange views 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 consulted the community well enough to ascertain its views on the closure, 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 request for the Commissioner to require a public meeting was not granted.

Compliance considerations

The bank met its legal obligation to inform consumers and the Commissioner of the branch closure. The convening of a meeting in accordance with the Regulations is dependent on whether there has been sufficient consultation with the community affected by the branch closure. In this case, the bank evaluated the needs of its customer base and took the initiative to hold a public meeting. An FCAC representative attended this meeting and confirmed that consumers had been granted the opportunity to express their views surrounding the branch closure. In view of the circumstances, it was the Commissioner's decision that the bank had consulted the community well enough in order to ascertain its views on the closure.

Measures taken by financial institution

  • Held a public meeting to address the concerns of customers affected and to exchange views about the branch closure. Customers were notified of the meeting through posters, signage and handouts made available in the branch a month prior to the meeting.

Outcomes

Consumers must be aware of, and have the ability to exercise, their right to request a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and FCAC in the event of a branch closure. It is important that consumers be given the opportunity to discuss the branch closure with their bank, so that they are able to 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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