June 4th, 2020
New Democrats call on Liberals to stop supporting big bank profiteering
NEW WESTMINSTER— Today, NDP Finance Critic Peter Julian is reiterating his call for the federal government to use its powers to help Canadians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and make the banks waive interest, penalties, and fees on loan deferrals and to stop charging interest on credit cards and lines of credit.
Actions to regulate the banks have been taken in the UK by the Prudential Regulatory Authority, in some countries in Europe and by the Mexican’s financial regulator. In Canada, some credit unions have already reduced the interest on credit cards and lines of credits to zero percent for those in need.
“We have heard many stories of Canadians suffering from financial pressure while the banks do nothing to help. In the first quarter of the year, so far Canada's major banks made more than $5 billion in profits during the COVID-19 crisis, while Canadians continue to struggle to make ends meet," said Julian. "The federal government has the power and authority to stop banks from making such huge profits on the backs of Canadians. But instead of taking action they’re letting people struggle with this financial pressure."
According to a document released by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to the Standing Committee on Finance, the federal government has provided up to $750 billion, including regulatory relief, to the banking and financial sector during this pandemic.
"Canadians are concerned to see billions in direct and indirect assistance going to the banking and financial sector, with no assurances from the Trudeau government that the big banks will stop profiteering during this pandemic and beyond that,” added Julian. "During the Second World War, there were laws against profiteering. We need similar leadership from the federal government at this critical time."