Globe and Mail article: successful big banks help shareholders but what about customers? | General comparisons | Discussion forum
"Higher fees, borrowing costs: Welcome to booming Big Six banking"
December 12, 2009
Interesting article, Peter.
One thing I found interesting is Rob mentions Ally Canada, which hasn't done much in Canada since launching a high-interest savings account a few years ago and was widely expected to launch a free chequing account and/or credit card products. The only thing they've launched, basically, is a US dollar savings account (which still requires you to transfer funds to a "bricks and mortar" bank to withdraw, although at least they use EFT which is free versus Hubert Financial which does a wire transfer and charges something like $22.50). The thing about Ally is, they will likely be the next foreign owned bank in Canada to be absorbed by one of the "Big Five" – it's currently up for sale by parent Ally Financial and they've already divested the mortgage assets of ResMor Trust Company to, I want to say, MCAP. Once they sell Ally Canada and Ally Canada Auto Finance, which is the part "New GM" wants, we'll lose another foreign owned bank. And, as for Canadian Tire Bank, they haven't done anything, leading me to believe maybe they'll withdraw from the retail deposit channel and refocus just on credit cards and credit card ancillary services? They'd lose a funding channel, but they have their off-balance sheet credit card trust securitization vehicle, Glacier Credit Card Trust.
Allowing Canadian banks to compete in ANY other sector kills off that sector, as the banks' ability to use Other People's Money is virtually invincible. They ate all the trust companies, all the brokerages, and they are continuing to eat other bank-like competitors through simply having too much money they don't know what to do with.
Only political pressure got the governments of Canada to allow this – instead of more competition in those other sectors, it was wiped out and replaced by the cozy self-serving of Canada's Big Banks.
In fact, every time big sectors in Canadian business have begged the government to allow them to merge into monopolistic behemoths, supposedly to compete internationally, all they have done was use their size to crush and acquire their domestic creditors, ream their domestic customers, and then sell the whole mess to foreign concerns anyway.
Don't bother crying in your beer – it's been sold to the Americans and Belgians, too.
We're lucky to have as many banks as we do, and that the Big Boys weren't allowed to buy each other up under Martin.