Fourteen years ago Bill C-8, Ottawa’s financial sector reform package, was given royal assent.
The massive bill (almost 1,000 pages) enabled consolidation among Canada’s Big Five banks, with the reduced red tape also opening the doors for credit unions and insurance companies to set up a national structure and compete more effectively with the banks.
According to the Enterprise article, the Big Five banks were expected to continue their track record of merging and selling off branches. Dr. John Chant, an SFU economics professor, called on credit unions to seize this opportunity, saying, “Banks give up branches because they’re redundant; it may be that the type of service credit unions offer can make them viable. I would say to credit unions that there are great opportunities.”
Bill Knight, then president and CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada, suggested CUs instead focus on friendly, individualized service. “Our great strength is our powerful relationship with people. “We have to keep updating our technologies, making sure members and potential members know we can do the full financial services package. We have the opportunity to stick to our values and be the firstclass community alternative for Canadian consumers.” ◊