Time for Government to Protect Banking Consumers Is Now
Toronto – September 10, 2018 – CARP is calling on the government of Canada to improve consumer protection by making the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) the single, binding dispute resolution body for banking and investment services. This call comes on the heels of Scotiabank’s announcement that it will withdraw from the OBSI in favour of a for-profit alternative.
“There is currently one ombuds office for investment services but two very different dispute resolution alternatives for banking services,” said Wanda Morris, CARP’s Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer. “This makes no sense. Banking consumers need a single ombuds office that is transparent, accountable, and accessible to consumers.”
The OBSI was created in 1996 to act as an impartial and fair investigator of banking and investments related complaints. It played this role until 2008, when the Harper government decided to allow banks to choose between OBSI and ADRBO, a for-profit dispute resolution organization. This created a loophole in the system that needs to be closed.
Today, the OBSI is the sole Canadian ombuds office for all investment services. CARP is calling on the federal government to empower the OBSI to provide the same level of fair and accessible services to all banking consumers.
“We know that 35% of OBSI complainants are over age 65, and many of them are low income,” explained Ms. Morris. “The absence of a single, public ombuds office for banking services leaves vulnerable seniors without a transparent, accessible dispute resolution provider. The government has an obligation to protect these Canadian banking consumers.”
CARP recently made this request to the federal Finance Minister in its 2019 Pre-Budget written submission and will be reiterating the recommendation in its upcoming Seniors Platform.
CARP is a non-profit, non-partisan association representing more than 300,000 older Canadians across Canada. We advocate for better health care, financial security and freedom from ageism. We are supported by our membership and valued corporate partners who offer members discounts and benefits. Visit: www.carp.ca.