CUA Welcomes Ottawa Decision on "Bank/Banking"

March 1, 2018

Dear members and friends of CUA: 

I am writing to provide an update on an important issue relating to the use of the terms “bank” and “banking”.  As you know, from June to September of last year, CUA strongly advocated for credit unions’ continued practice of using plain language when talking to consumers about what we do – banking.

Along with other credit unions and the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), CUA engaged directly with elected representatives at the provincial and federal level.  As I shared with you in August, the Federal Government released a Consultation Paper as part of the Bank Act review, asking Canadians to submit their comments and views in relation to banking terminology and the potential limitations of these terms. 

CUA’s position was clear: CUA is a regulated, deposit-taking institution that engages in activities that everyday Canadians describe as banking.  We shared this position formally as part of the consultation process in September, providing the Minister of Finance with a comprehensive submission that spoke to our business, our products, services and the positive impact we have on the people we proudly serve.

Our submission was strengthened by nearly 300 letters and emails from CUA members and supporters who also took the time to make their voice heard.  For those of you who reached out to me personally to share your support, thank you.  Your efforts were not only inspiring, they were effective.

In the Federal Government Budget material released this week, the Government indicated their intent to amend the Bank Act, enabling CUA and other credit unions the flexibility to use the terms bank and banking.

Specifically, the announcement noted “Budget 2018 proposes to introduce legislative amendments to implement targeted proposals from the review. […] Proposed changes would include providing prudentially regulated deposit-taking institutions, such as credit unions, flexibility to use generic bank terms, subject to disclosure.”

We are currently working to better understand the Government’s intentions as it relates to disclosure, and we expect to receive future direction as to how these terms can be used.  We will continue to work with CCUA  and various levels of government so they understand why this issue is of critical importance to CUA and to the people we are connecting with as a direct result of using common words and phrases.

Amending the Bank Act will enable us to stay focused on what matters – providing flexible products and personalized solutions to the people we serve every day, people who are working hard in support of building a stronger financial future for themselves, their families and their businesses.

We applaud the work of the Finance Department and of the All-Party Credit Union Caucus for acknowledging that credit unions play a critical role in supporting a stable, competitive and resilient financial sector, serving more than 5.6 million Canadians.  This issue has raised a number of important considerations, especially as it relates to raising awareness of credit unions as full-service banking option.  For CUA, this issue has reinforced the importance of introducing ourselves first and foremost based on what we do. 

We will continue to gather information and advise you of new developments, and in the meantime I invite you to consider introducing someone new to CUA.  When they ask you about us, talk to them about our flexible products, our personal approach and our quick decisions.  Note that as a customer, they’re also an owner, and that their voice matters.  Mention that 100% of our profits remain in Nova Scotia and our interests are always – always – aligned with the people we serve.  Invite them to discover CUA – The better way to bank.

We stand proudly in your corner, and thank you sincerely for also being in ours.

Your CEO,

Marie T. Mullally, FCPA, FCA
President & CEO


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