In Ottawa, The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is investigating Canada’s financial institutions for their business practices. There have been allegations that some banks are ‘tricking’ or pressuring their customers into buying various products and services.
FCAC is an independent agency of the government and is responsible for consumer protection legislations. After the allegations, the agency announced on 15th March that the investigation will take place in April.
According to Lucie Tedesco, the commissioner of FCAC, consumers were being charged for products and services without their consent. According to the employees working at these big banks, they are forced by their superiors to either up-sell or trick the customers, just to meet the bank’s unrealistic targets. They are provided with an ultimatum to meet the target or lose their job.
As the news reached the parliament, they too wanted an inquiry done as soon as possible. Canadian Bankers Association’s president Terry Campbell said that all their customers are well-served and that they will cooperate fully with any review.
Last week, three employees form Toronto Dominion Bank spoke out on CBC and said they feel “incredible pressure” on forcing customers to sign up for unnecessary products. To this and other media coverage, Toronto Dominion Bank said that what media was portraying was not an accurate account of their dealings.
After another segment similar to this one, CBC received thousands of emails from employees from five banks across Canada stating that they had to deal with this kind of pressure on a daily, and sometimes, hourly basis.
Last Year, Wells Fargo faced the same allegations. However, that case was resolved when the bank announced an official apology for opening unauthorized account. The case was settled after the bank was forced to pay a large penalty.
Since the allegations, banks have issued their statements on how they treat their customers fairly. Though, the issue has been discussed with Canada’s leading banks CEOs and a board member, the actual investigation has yet to begin.