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Canadian banks cutting costs and services, but keeping fees in place
Published Thursday, October 20, 2016 7:35AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 20, 2016 7:37AM MDT
Despite an increasing volume of people bypassing the lineup and doing all their banking online and through ATMs, service fees at major Canadian banks haven’t budged and likely won’t change anytime soon either.
In 2015, the five biggest Canadian banks reported earnings of $35B, mainly due to lower costs from an increasing amount of customers using the Internet for transactions.
According to the Canadian Bankers’ Association, 55 percent of Canadians now do all of their banking online.
They can monitor their accounts and pay bills over the Internet, even deposit cheques with their cell phones.
The Bankers’ Association says that service fees make up on a very small amount of the profits of big banks.
“Don’t forget, banks are very big businesses,” said the Association’s Maura Drew-Lyttle. “They’re involved not just in retail banking but investment, mutual funds and insurance.”
Other banks, like Tangerine, have no service fees, but they also don’t have any tellers and very few branches.
When it comes to ATM fees, banks charge customers three dollars per transaction when they use a bank machine that doesn’t correspond with their account.
It also doesn’t fit with what the service costs, says Olympia Trust executive Jim Wilson.
Wilson, whose company has installed low-cost ATMs at most of Calgary’s LRT stations, says the three-dollar fee is the benchmark for what the big banks will charge.
“I can’t tell you which the first bank was that decided to go to three dollars, but once they did, slowly all the other banks followed suit and now all the charter financials are at three dollars.”
Wilson says withdrawals at Olympia machines only cost a buck.
The Bankers’ Association says the fees are necessary for the banks to provide service for customers.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)