Canada: Credit Unions can say Bank again

The Federal government has backtracked changes proposed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), which would have forced Credit Unions to avoid using terms like ‘Banker’, ‘Banking’ and ‘Bank’. The changes, proposed in June 2017, faced a fierce backlash from the Credit Union sector, prompting a government review.

"Quite pleased that the government has recognized that credit unions should use banking vernacular that Canadians are used to using
Martha Durdin, CEO, Canadian Credit Union Association"

The news, revealed in the Federal budget, has been welcomed by the Credit Union sector. CEO of the Canadian Credit Union Association, Martha Durdin said she is “quite pleased that the government has recognized that credit unions should use banking vernacular that Canadians are used to using”.

Credit unions believe the lack of banking vernacular would have rendered them less competitive, and changing marketing, websites, legal documents, and signage would have cost over $80 million.

The original announcement appears not to have had any adverse short-term effect on Credit Unions’ customer acquisition; according to RFi Group’s Canada Payments Council study, the proportion of Canadians that consider a Credit Union to be their main financial institution grew by 3 percentage points to 18% between the first and second half of 2017.

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