Tuesday March 6, 2007

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday March 6, 2007

Banks expected to respond soon on ATM fees

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he expects the major banks will respond soon to concerns he raised with them today about ATM fees in particular with regards to those with limited incomes, including students, seniors and those with disabilities.

Mr. Flaherty said Monday that he wasn’t expecting a response today from the representatives of the big six Canadian banks, but he conveyed concerns that had been raised by Canadians and Parliament with regards to the ATM fees being charged in the country.

“We had a frank and direct discussion,” he said. “I did not expect a response as a group from the banks with whom I met nor would it be appropriate for them to respond as a group and they did not.”

More than 75% of ATM cash withdrawals in Canada come from clients using their own banks, where there are generally no transaction fee applied, according to the Canadian Bankers Association.

Still, opponents of the fees note that the banks are very profitable, with combined earnings of almost $19-billion last year alone.

One of the most vocal critics of the fees is NDP leader Jack Layton, who thrust the issue onto the national agenda. The NDP estimates Canadians pay out about $420-million a year in ATM service fees. (Source: Global National) http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=7d284b78-547b-4610-bffc-263944b05739