Decision #94410-933Q203

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 94410-933Q203

Commissioner’s Decision

Compliance issue

Branch Closure — Failure to notify Commissioner within required time/Failure to notify customers and the public within required time/Failure to include certain prescribed information in notice
Bank Act, s 459.2
Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations, ss. 4(1)(a)(i), 5(2), 5(4)(f) and (g)

A bank failed to provide four months advance notice to the Commissioner prior to the proposed date of a branch closure as required by subparagraph 4(1)(a)(i) of the Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations.

The bank also failed to provide affected customers and the public with at least four months’ advance notice of the closure as required by subsection 5(2) of the Regulations.

The notices that were sent out to affected customers did not include all of the information required by paragraphs 5(4)(f) and (g) of the Regulations. Specifically, the notice did not provide a description of how the Commissioner may be contacted; did not inform consumers that the Commissioner may require a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and FCAC to discuss the closure further; and did not inform consumers of the conditions under which he may do so.

Compliance measure(s) taken

Letter of ReprimandFootnote 1  noting four violations against the bank.

Compliance considerations

The bank’s notice to customers included the bank’s phone number, which the bank felt gave sufficient opportunity for customers to contact them directly should they have any concerns or wish to discuss the branch closure further. This did not meet the regulatory requirements.

Corrective measures taken by financial institution

Made changes to its internal processes in order to ensure there would be future compliance with the law.

Outcomes

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 have received all of the information required. When consumers are given sufficient notice of a branch closure and are aware of the conditions under which the Commissioner can require a public meeting, 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 their rights, FCAC and the bank ensure 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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