Thursday, May 28, 1998
STOP BANK MERGERS -- ENACT ACCOUNTABILITY LAWS
OTTAWA - Today, the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition (CCRC)
released its sixth position paper explaining why the proposed big bank
mergers should be stopped, and launched its national campaign for legislation
to ensure that banks serve all Canadians fairly and well.
The CCRC position paper, Ending Power Without Accountability, punches holes in the banks' pro-merger claims. Using documented research, the CCRC shows that global competition is not the threat that banks claim it is, that bigger banks are by no means better banks, and that Canada's banks are already big enough both to meet customer needs in Canada and to compete globally. If approved, the mergers would simply tighten the banks' stranglehold on the market.
"We're calling the banks' bluff," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the CCRC. "The banks simply cannot prove that the mergers are necessary or will benefit Canadians. And given the banks' poor record of customer service, why should we let them get bigger?"
In the paper, the CCRC calls for a moratorium on bank mergers and expansions until promised changes to foreign bank entry laws and new bank disclosure, reinvestment and accountability laws have been in place for two years. After that time period, if foreign banks provide significant competition to Canada's big banks and the banks have proven that they serve all Canadians fairly and well, the government could then reconsider bank mergers.
"The onus is on Finance Minister Paul Martin to act in the interests of the majority of Canadians, who have made it clear that they oppose the mergers," says Conacher. "But we can't stop there. We need to enact laws, as other countries have, to ensure the fair banking service that Canadians deserve."
To keep up the pressure on Minister Martin and the Liberal Government, the CCRC is distributing 70,000 copies of an educational pamphlet across the country urging Canadians to write their MP, Minister Martin and a federal task force on banking issues urging them to stop the mergers and enact the bank accountability measures proposed by the CCRC.
Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition
P.O. Box 1040, Station B, Ottawa, Canada K1P 5R1
Tel: (613) 789-5753
Fax: (613) 241-4758
Copyright 1998 Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition