Make Canada's Big Banks help during coronavirus crisis, and after

Make Canada's Big Banks help during coronavirus crisis, and after

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While millions of Canadians and hundreds of thousands of small businesses are suffering from the COVID coronavirus crisis, Canada’s Big 6 Banks gouged out record high profits of more than $46 billion in 2019, more than $41 billion in 2020, and $57.7 billion in 2021.

The 2021 total of $57.7 billion works out to almost $28 million in profit every hour banks are open – 28% higher than in 2018, and almost triple their profits in 2010!

This is the 10th year since 2011 that the Big Banks’ profits have gone up – has your pay or profit increased every year for the past 10 years?

The heads of the Big 6 Banks were also paid a total of $74.4 million in 2021 (an average of $12.4 million each) in salary and bonuses (55% higher than in 2008).

Canada’s Big Banks make among the highest profits of any banks in the world because the federal government has protected them from competition and bailed them out and given them many favours over the past 50 years. The Big Banks reaped these record profits every year for the past 10 years in part by:

  • firing thousands of people and shifting jobs to call centres in foreign countries;
  • cutting services, and;
  • hiking fees and credit card interest rates to gouge you even more than they were already (even though interest rates dropped to record low levels).

The federal government has failed in the past 30 years to stop the Big Banks from gouging their customers and treating them unfairly.

Now, with the COVID coronavirus crisis hurting millions of Canadians, and even though the Big Banks can afford it, the federal government still hasn’t made the Big Banks give everyone a break by cutting their gouging interest rates and fees, and cutting loan payments completely if needed.

The federal government also continues to refuse to make the Big Banks pay their fair share of taxes to help pay the costs of the crisis.  Canada's Big Banks paid a tax rate of only 16% over the past 6 years -- lower than banks in other G7 countries. The Big Banks also exploit tax loopholes more than all other Canadian big businesses.

The Big Banks must be required:

  1. To cut all their interest rates and fees in half now, and to cut loan payments entirely for anyone who needs it for the next few months, without requiring payment or extra interest later;
  2. To disclose the profit level of every part of their business (credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, each other type of loan, bank machines, and investment and insurance divisions) after fully independent audits;
  3. To keep all their interest rates and fees at a level that gives them no more than a reasonable profit (for example, many U.S. states limit credit card interest rates);
  4. To disclose how many people and small businesses apply and are approved or rejected for loan cuts, low-interest credit cards, other loans, by type of borrower, and require corrective actions if a bank discriminates against any type of borrower (as the U.S. has done for 30 years);
  5. To re-open basic banking branches in neighbourhoods (where they closed them in the 1990s) to help get rid of predatory pay-day loan companies (and low-cost banking at Canada Post outlets should also be allowed);
  6. To support the creation of an independent, consumer-run financial consumer watchdog group (as MPs and senators recommended in 1998) so consumers have a place to call for help if they are gouged or treated unfairly, and to get fully independent, expert advice;
  7. To pay their fair share of taxes now, and in the future, by closing all the loopholes they exploit (as England and Australia have), and;
  8. To cut the pay of their CEO and other top executives to no more than 40 times their lowest paid employee.

Enforcement measures and penalties also need to be strengthened to ensure the banks don’t ever gouge, rip-off or treat their customers unfairly, and pay high penalties if they do!  Enforcement is much stronger in England, and in the U.S.

Please Sign and Share this petition now calling for these key changes to make Canada’s Big Banks give everyone a break on interest rates and fees, pay their fair share in taxes, and treat everyone fairly, now and after the COVID coronavirus crisis is over.

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