Will Canadians Rebel Against Bank Fee Increases?

The major Canadian banks have decided that due to falling revenues from commodities, the impact of interest rates that are at historic lows and a lack of substantial loan growth among other factors that it is time to once again raise certain banking fees in order to further grow their ever expanding profits.   With profits of the Big Five: RBC, TD, CIBC, BMO and Scotiabank reaching a mere 8.12 BILLION for the fiscal second quarter the obvious question becomes how much is too much.   The clear answer to that question is that there is no such thing as enough or too much.

There is only what they can get away with without alienating the entire banking population of Canada.   The banks have once again made a calculated decision to test the apathy of Canadian.   They are clearly counting on the fact that most Canadians will grumble a little when heading to the ATM and noticing that their fee has jumped from $1 to $1.25 for the privilege of accessing their own money.   In addition to that fee increase there are also other increases that are tied to balances on particular accounts.

No matter which fee or which bank that has authorized it the fact remains that the banks are counting on the fact that most Canadian will not deign to make a change despite the fact that there are options available today that have never been available before through credit unions and other more esoteric financial institution options that are dramatically increasing with the expansion of web based banking.   The ability to keep fees lower due to the lack of brick and mortar buildings and other over- head that the Big Five must pay for is one of the reasons that these new web based institutions are gaining popularity albeit slowly.   For the Big Five to fully comprehend the impact that the continuous raising of rates is having on the psyche of most Canadians this trend needs to gain speed and traction.

When Canadians decide en masse that they have had enough of the gluttony of the major banks, and decide to take the time and effort to switch to one of these web based options that will be either the wake- up call for the big banks or the final nail in the coffin.   The complacency that they count on from Canadians to pound their fist and rail in private yet do nothing about the issue is exactly the reason that they feel no compunction in raising rates time and again.

Hopefully this recent rate hike will encourage Canadians  into seeking out options that take into account that without them the big Banks have NO profit whatsoever and maybe, just maybe they will be moved to take a little smaller piece of the pie rather than reach the point where there is no pie left for them to divide.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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