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120,000 call on Finance Minister Freeland to make key changes to stop bank gouging and abuse

Key measures that the U.S. enacted decades ago needed in Canada to stop gouging, ensure fair interest rates, fees and service for all customers, and to stop bank lending racism and discrimination

Big 6 Banks now gouging out very high profits double or more than 2020 profits – 4 of Big 6 are among top 50 most profitable banks in the world!

As PM Trudeau said last April 6th, the Big Banks can afford to help more

As England and Australia have, Canada must also close loopholes to ensure banks pay fair share of taxes

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch, along with the 120,000 people from across Canada who have joined its letter-writing campaign and/or signed its petition, called on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to work together with all federal parties in this minority government situation to stop gouging, racism in lending, and other abuses by Canada’s Big 6 Banks.

On April 6, 2020, after the Big 6 Banks announced temporary mortgage and loan payment deferrals, and credit card interest rate cuts, for some customers, Prime Minister Trudeau said “we need to see even more action like this going forward because this is a time to think about each other, not about the bottom line.”

However, the deferrals and cuts ended last fall, the banks have not given any breaks since, the Big 6 Banks all announced huge profit increases of 100% to 200% this past week (BMO, CIBC, RBC and TD, Scotiabank and National Bank, and 4 of the Big 6 Banks recently announced fee hikes.

Four of Canada’s Big 6 Banks are listed in Fortune’s Global 500 for 2020, and are the 15th (RBC), 20th (TD), 32nd (Scotiabank) and 50th (BMO) most profitable financial institutions in the world, and the four most profitable Canadian companies in the Global 500 (See Canada’s Big Banks Backgrounder).

Democracy Watch recently filed a submission with Finance Canada’s pre-budget consultation process calling, along with more than 120,000 Canadians, for Key Bank Accountability Changes needed to make Canada’s banks help Canadians more by cutting interest rates and fees, to stop racism and discrimination in lending and services, and stop other abuses.

Many of the key changes were enacted in the U.S. decades ago, and apply to the U.S. banks that 4 of Canada’s Big 6 Banks own. In contrast, the Trudeau Liberals have done nothing to stop gouging fees and interest rates, and have done very little to address discrimination in bank lending. Recently, associations representing Black and Indigenous business owners called for the U.S. measures to be enacted in Canada to stop discrimination in bank lending.

The Big 6 Banks also paid their CEOs a total of $75 million in 2019 in salary and bonuses (an average of $12.5 million each), and a total of $66.4 million in 2020 ($11 million each on average).

“The big banks can afford to do much more to help during this crisis, and must be required by law to disclose much more information about their profits in every part of their business, and how they treat customers and borrowers, to stop the rampant gouging, and ensure they are effectively required to serve everyone fairly and well with fair interest rates and fees, and to stop them from discriminating against or abusing anyone,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.

“As the U.S. did more than 40 years ago, the federal government must require the banks to disclose this information and more to ensure the banks don’t discriminate against anyone, and give everyone who needs it a real break in their loan and credit card payments during the crisis, and serve everyone fairly and well at fair interest rates and fees that give the banks a reasonable profit and not excessive gouging profit levels,” said Conacher.

The Big 6 Banks continue to reap high profits by firing thousands of people, shifting jobs overseas (or using temporary foreign workers), cutting services, and hiking fees and credit card interest rates even as the Bank of Canada’s prime rate dropped to record low levels.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
Email: [email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Big Banks Coronavirus Accountability Campaign