FCAC finds few violations

Related news The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reports that it investigated more than 1,500 complaints about the firms under its jurisdiction, but that it imposed just $275,000 in penalties against violators. The FCAC released its latest annual report on Tuesday. The report reveals that the agency investigated many more cases, but uncovered fewer violations, than in previous years. It says that over 1,500 cases were investigated in 2012-2013, up from less than 1,300 in 2011-2012, and just 660 in 2010-2011. OBSI updates terms of reference James Langton Facebook LinkedIn Twitter However, it only noted five violations and entered compliance agreements with five firms during the year. This was up from three violations and compliance agreements in the previous year, but down from 36 violations and 12 agreements in the year before that. The top issue that the FCAC dealt with was credit cards, which resulted in 93 new cases, followed by account fees (83 cases), and refusals to open an account (63 cases). It notes that it identified three major compliance issues with the code of conduct for credit card issuers: inappropriate sales and business practices; disclosure to merchants in multiple-provider agreements’; and, multiple contract cancellation penalties, costs or fees. And, it says that these issues were addressed through additional guidance. Apart from its enforcement efforts, the report also says that the FCAC was successful in influencing a number of firms “to adopt behavioural changes that led to significant improvements in overall compliance”, through enhanced supervisory efforts and stronger industry communications. The FCAC also says that its review of the current state of clear language disclosure practices found that, in a majority of cases, the policies and procedures required significant improvement and strengthening. “In some cases, we found a complete absence of policies and procedures,” it notes, adding that it will undertake follow-up action with those firms i the year ahead. It also found systemic procedural and material compliance gaps in terms of firms compliance with several new regulatory requirements regarding access to funds and negative option billing regulations, which came into force on August 1, 2012. As a result, it has sought to address these issues proactively with firms. The report says that the FCAC also continued to enhance its risk assessment model, which helps it evaluate financial institutions’ risks related to compliance with the various financial consumer protection laws and initiatives. Internally, it says the organization also updated its information-gathering matrix, which helps it collect data and focus on compliance trends; enhanced the efficiency of its approach to investigating compliance cases; and, refined its procedures to applying appropriate compliance measures. Additionally, the FCAC highlights its efforts at educating financial consumers. It reports that its research division launched a number of research projects, including an examination of mobile payments, bank fees and the impact of financial education on Canadians’ behaviour and attitudes toward money matters. “More than ever, it is crucial that Canadians develop the knowledge, skills and confidence in managing their money, exploring the financial marketplace and in dealing with providers of financial services,” said commissioner, Lucie Tedesco. In terms of its communications efforts, it reports that it distributed over 1.5 million publications in electronic and print form, drew 18,500 views to its YouTube channels, and attracted over 3,600 followers on Twitter, reaching over eight million users in the past two years. Its website traffic also grew 109% over the previous year to 1.3 million visits; and, it answered over 12,000 inquiries and complaints by telephone, email and letter. Keywords ComplaintsCompanies Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Banking complaints climbed in Q2: OBSI Share this article and your comments with peers on social media FCAC to probe banks’ complaints handling processes read more