–By Partap Dua
The Canadian Banks need to be tightened on an urgent as they are killing consumers and ruining families. There is no real banking oversight in Canada as a result consumers are left helpless. Many of the actions of banks can be described as criminal and yet no one cares. The Canadian consumers are always at receiving end. OSFI that regulates the banks in Canada, regulates them for banking risk to the financial system and not for their unbecoming conduct with consumers. The bank’s Ombudsman ALWAYS works in the interest of the bank and is a bureaucratic process to stall consumers. Most Ombuds report to the CEO of the bank and are designated VPs of the banks. They NEVER give any findings or decisions and a customer’s complaint can languish for months and even more than a year. If one files a complaint with OSFI or Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), rest assured to spend months and months and still there would be no beneficial outcome at the end. Most processes are so bureaucratic and time wasting (an inherent trait of our Canadian complaint system), one would need real courage to embark on initiating a complaint within the system. What is the point if someone’s complaint is not addressed right away?
Some of the bank’s unethical acts are:
Most banks change terms and conditions unilaterally without acceptance by the customer.
Most bank and customer contracts are one sided favoring the banks.
The account maintenance fees have increased from $3 to almost $20 or even $30 a month per account for individuals and $100-200 a month for businesses.
Most banks charge $3 fee for ATM withdrawals for other bank customers while they pay cents to the clearing system.
Some banks like TD try to gouge customers by putting a cap on withdrawals. So a customer wishing to withdraw $1200 will be required to perform 4 transactions of $300 on an ATM resulting in a $12 fee.
Most banks raise interest rates WITHOUT NOTICE on existing outstanding amounts on credit lines and credit cards. Sometimes the interest rate is raised by 100-300%. This is criminal as the customer borrowed the money on the understanding of specific monthly interest cost. For example a person with an outstanding visa withdrawal of $50,000 at 9% will be required to pay 24% or even 28% increasing the customer’s monthly interest by $625 a month which would translate to $7,500 per year. THIS HAS TO BE CLASSIFIED AS CRIMINAL.
Most banks increase rates on unsecured credit line to unmanageable levels once the customers have fully utilized the credit line limits. There are thousands of Canadian customers whose rates were increased from prime plus 1% to prime plus 7 or 8% retroactively. THIS IS CRIMINAL.
The banks suddenly change conditions of the account to impractical level leaving the customers with no choice as they cannot close an account.
The banks cancel the credit cards and credit lines of customers without notice or warning leaving the customers high and dry. This has ruined many family lives because the families planned their lives and expenses on household items and repairs with their existing limits.
The banks refuse to charge-back fraudulent transactions on credit cards in most cases and customers are told to sort out with ‘imaginative vendors’ who the customers have never interacted with.
The banks forcibly put holds on domestic customer deposits for 4, 5 or 7 days which sometimes could result in 15 days hold during Christmas holidays and they put over 30 days hold on foreign deposits. THIS IS CRIMINAL AS BANKS USE CUSTOMER MONEY WITH IMPUNITY AGAINST CUSTOMER’S IMMEDIATE CASH NEED.
The banks indulge in a monopolistic collusion with other banks. One by one, they have started to treat bank drafts deposits as instant deposits leaving the customers with no way to deposit funds in to their bank account without the risk of hold on the funds.
The banks charge $25-45 on wire transfers irrespective of amount transferred and even so the wire transfer can take days and sometimes weeks.
The bank branches have put unilateral limits on withdrawals at $2,500 per transaction. So how would a person take out $20,000 or $50,000 or $100,000 from his own account to deposit in to another bank for clearing same day cheque or payment if the other bank puts hold on bank drafts?
The government, employers and institutions require and force Canadians to have bank accounts or else they won’t be paid. And banks steal more and more money from customer accounts by amending their own contracts at free will.
An average Canadian has 3 or 4 bank accounts, and ends up paying $500-3,000 a year to the bank in fees, overdraft and miscellaneous charges which are decided and amended by the bank from time to time at free will. They not only charge horrendous 28-30% on OD charges, they also charge monthly OD fees of $4-8 a month in addition to monthly banking fees of $10-30 a month on individual accounts.
Our Governments including 3 main political parties are aware of these things but have done nothing in past 25 years.
The courts always side with the banks and institutions because of the capitalistic mindset and training of judges.
THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE NEED TO TIGHTEN AND REGULATE THE BANKS RIGOROUSLY. BANKS CANNOT BE GIVEN FREE RUN OVER CONSUMERS. THE CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED WITHIN 24 HOURS AND BANKS SHOULD BE HEAVILY FINED FOR LAPSES.
Canadian families cannot be left to suffer in misery as Canadian banks have too much control over lives of Canadians against their wishes. Canadians are forced to use banking services against their will in any case because every individual can’t survive without a bank account and even the smallest business is required to have a bank account.