Decision #99242-815Q204

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

File: 99242-815Q204

Compliance issue

Branch Closure — Request for a second 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

FCAC’s Commissioner required a bank to hold a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and representatives of FCAC to further discuss the bank’s decisions to close a branch. After attending this meeting, a consumer wrote to FCAC to request that the Commissioner require the bank to hold a second meeting.

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, 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 request for the Commissioner to require a second public meeting was not granted.

Compliance considerations

As the bank had already held a public meeting between the bank, interested parties and FCAC to discuss the closure, the Commissioner felt that the bank had undertaken sufficient measures to ensure that it understood well enough the views of interested persons in the community with regard to the branch closure.

Consultation measures taken by financial institution

  • Following up on points addressed in the first public meeting, the bank continued to try to ease the transition process for its customers by:
    • providing bus schedules to help customers find the route to the receiving branch;
    • following up with customers who expressed concerns about the availability of transportation for persons with disabilities and ensuring they were aware of a specialized local transportation service;
    • offering a list of nearby ABMs and/or merchants who offer cashback services; and
    • providing all interested clients with debit cards and providing them with training on how to use Internet and/or telephone banking.

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 their lives 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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