Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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Watchdog sees ‘significant’ jump in complaints after scandal at Big 5 banks
Michael Shulman,Yahoo Finance C

The federal watchdog charged with overseeing financial services says it experienced a “significant increase” in complaints and inquiries in the week after allegations of high-pressure sales tactics at Canada’s Big Five banks emerged.
According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, it received 431 calls and emails in the wake of a CBC News story that came out on March 15, which saw employees detail the aggressive sales environment under which they were allegedly encouraged to upsell, lie and trick customers to reach sales targets.
That figure from March 13 to 19, represented a 146 per cent jump from the week prior. The agency also received 168 complaints and inquiries during the same period the year prior.
A spokesperson for the FCAC told Yahoo Canada Finance that most of the calls and emails appear to be complaints, and attributed the spike to coverage of the issue in the media.
“Some of them are complaints … Some of them are also employees calling,” Brigitte Goulard, the deputy commissioner of the FCAC, told the Financial Post.
The most common concerns were related to express consent, sales practices and the agency’s role. The FCAC said further analysis is required to confirm if they fall under legislation covering consumer protection provisions.
The watchdog announced earlier this month that it planned to move up a review of the financial industry to April in response to the reports about Canada’s major banks.
“We will examine financial institutions’ business practices in relation to express consent and disclosure, including the identification of any factors that may be contributing to non-compliance,” Lucie Tedesco, commissioner of the FCAC, said in a press release put out at the time.
“We will investigate and enforce any incidence of non-compliance.”
The FCAC said it is “always concerned by any potential breach of consumer protection provisions” and it will take appropriate enforcement action if a financial institution has done so.
The watchdog is also urging consumers who have experienced what they believe was a misleading business practice to file a complaint with the FCAC and their bank.