Big Banks Coronavirus Accountability Campaign

While millions of Canadians and hundreds of thousands of small businesses are suffering from the coronavirus crisis, Canada’s Big 6 Banks gouged out record profits of more than $46 billion in 2019 and more than $41 billion in 2020 and more than $57 billion in 2021!

That works out to almost $28 million in profit every hour banks are open – almost triple their profits in 2010!

While the Big Banks’ profits dropped a little bit (12% overall) in 2020, from 2010 to 2019 the Big Banks’ profits increased every single year, and increased again in 2021 by more than 40% compared to 2020!

The heads of the Big 6 Banks were also paid a total of $75 million in 2019 ($12.5 million each on average), and a total of $66.4 million in 2020 ($11 million each on average), and a total of $74.4 million in 2021 ($12.4 million each on average).

Canada’s Big Banks make among the highest profits of any banks in the world because the federal government has protected them from competition and bailed them out and given them many favours over the past 50 years. The Big Banks have reaped their record profits every year for the past 10 years in part by:

  • firing thousands of people;
  • cutting services, and;
  • hiking fees and credit card interest rates to gouge you even more than they were already (even though interest rates have dropped to record low levels).

The federal government has failed in the past 30 years to stop the Big Banks from gouging their customers and treating them unfairly.

Now, with the coronavirus crisis hurting millions of Canadians, and even though the Big Banks can afford it, the federal government still hasn’t made the Big Banks give everyone a break by cutting their gouging interest rates and fees, and stopping loan payments for the next few months if needed (without requiring them to be paid later).

The federal government also continues to refuse to make the Big Banks pay their fair share of taxes to help pay the costs of the crisis. Canada’s Big Banks paid a tax rate of only 16% over the past 6 years — lower than banks in other G7 countries. The Big Banks also exploit tax loopholes more than all other Canadian big businesses.

The Big Banks must be required:

  1. To cut all their interest rates and fees in half now;
  2. To disclose the profit level of every part of their business (credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, each other type of loan, bank machines, and investment and insurance divisions) after fully independent audits (overseen by the Auditor General);
  3. To keep all their interest rates and fees at a level that gives them no more than a reasonable profit (for example, many U.S. states limit credit card interest rates);
  4. To disclose how many people and small businesses apply and are approved or rejected for loan cuts, low-interest credit cards, other loans, by type of borrower (as the U.S. has done for 30 years);
  5. To re-open basic banking branches in neighbourhoods (where they closed them in the 1990s) to help get rid of predatory pay-day loan companies (and low-cost banking at Canada Post outlets should also be allowed);
  6. To support the creation of an independent, consumer-run financial consumer watchdog group (as recommended in 1998 by MPs and senators) so consumers have a place to call for help if they are gouged or treated unfairly, and to get fully independent, expert advice;
  7. To pay their fair share of taxes now, and in the future, by closing all the loopholes they exploit (as England and Australia have), and;
  8. To cut the pay of their CEO and other top executives to no more than 40 times their lowest paid employee.

Enforcement measures and penalties also need to be strengthened to ensure the banks don’t ever gouge, rip-off or treat their customers unfairly, and pay high penalties if they do. Enforcement is much stronger in England and the U.S.

Please Sign and Send the letter on this page calling for these key changes, and Share this page with anyone you think may be interested in supporting this campaign.

You can also click here to sign DWatch’s petition on that calls for these same key changes.