Tuesday, August 5, 1997

OTTAWA - The Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition believes that Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions) Jim Peterson acted prematurely in approving the acquisition of National Trustco by the Bank of Nova Scotia. The Minister justified this consolidation of financial services solely on global competition, with no demonstrated positive impact for consumers. "There has been no public consultation process in which consumer and small business advocates could express their views on this transaction" said Coalition Coordinator Luc Lapointe, "additionally the work undertaken by OSFI and the Bureau of Competition Policy remains secret even though it will impact on consumers from coast to coast" added Lapointe.

Canada's recently tabled position at the WTO multilateral negotiations on financial services proposes that the domestic market remains protected. "It is unfair for banks to be able to justify their actions on the basis of remaining globally competitive while Canadian consumers and small business are denied the potential benefits of the international marketplace" stated Lapointe.

The Coalition is particularly concerned by Mr. Peterson's statement that the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector's preliminary views were helpful in his reaching his decision. These views were drafted by the previous Chairman, Mr. James Baillie, who resigned in disgrace when it was disclosed that he stood to profit personally, through his partnership in the Toronto law firm Tory, Tory, Deslauriers & Binnington, by approval of this transaction as well as the pending acquisition of London Life by the Royal Bank of Canada.

This decision sets an ominous precedent for the decision on whether to allow Royal Bank to acquire London Life. The Coalition calls on Mr. Peterson to withhold approving further acquisitions justified by the need to meet global competition until Canada's competition policy is reconciled with our trade policy. Furthermore, the Coalition calls on Mr. Peterson to make public all material justifying this decision. This should include a detailed impact of how this decision is likely to impact on consumers. "Banking policy is too important to be left solely to Canada's protected domestic bankers" concluded Lapointe.

Back to press release index

CCRC Home Page

Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition
P.O. Box 1040, Station B,
Ottawa, Canada K1P 5R1

Tel: (613) 789-5753
Fax: (613) 241-4758


Copyright 1998 CCRC