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CCRC Demands Accountability from Canadian Banks

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Issue: 24 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada

December 11, 2004

CCRC Demands Accountability from Canadian Banks

by Mark Parker

The Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition (CCRC) has called on Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, Industry Minister David Emerson, and the entire federal Cabinet to require banks to prove that their business practices – which in a recent report earned the big six banks $13.3 billion in total profits – do not gouge the public. Some federal Liberals, such as Revenue Minister John McCallum, have raised concerns over this matter before, but the Liberals have forced very little change.

The CCRC is asking for more accountability within three main areas. First, they want the banks to disclose the profit/loss records of bank branches that have been closed in most often low-income communities in order to prove that the closures were justified. Second, it wants disclosure of the profit margin for credit card divisions so that the banks will be required to justify their high interest rates. Third, the CCRC wants to see the profit margin for each service division (in-branch, machine, telephone, and Internet banking).

In polls, 90 per cent of Canadians view banking as an essential service in Canada. However, other essential service companies such as those who deliver heating, electricity, and phone service are required by law to prove their prices are fair. The banks have no such accountability placed on them by the federal government, and the CCRC says that this must change.

» Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition: Web Site

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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