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Alterna doesn't accept power of attorneys
April 12, 2017
9:57 am
christinad
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I phoned alterna because I am interested in banking with them. They say their virtual account doesn't accept power of attorneys. I didn't push them on it because I don't even bank with them. I can't be bothered with these banks that aren't willing to offer this service. I see now my banking is limited by this power of attorney issue. If someone wants to get pushy with them, feel free and report. By the way when I emailed they didn't even respond to my email which demonstrates poor customer service.

April 13, 2017
8:02 am
Cranston
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Since I would have no accounts in Alterna I contacted them for you and here is the response once again. They responded in less than 24 hours.

In response to your email, we do not accept power of attorney for any of our digital bank accounts but we still do accept it for our regular bank accounts at Alterna Savings. We still do work with the executor of the will for any of our bank accounts, online and regular.

Should you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us. For your reference, our Member Service Centre can be reached via any of the following numbers and is available to assist you during the following hours:

This is absurd as in my mind there can be just as much non-clarity in dealing with a POA as there is in a Executor.

This week is Will week in BC and it is suggested any one of legal age should have a Will and even perhaps a POA.

I would not deal with them. Even if it is a joint account.

April 13, 2017
11:43 pm
JustMe2016
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christinad said
I phoned alterna because I am interested in banking with them. They say their virtual account doesn't accept power of attorneys. I didn't push them on it because I don't even bank with them. I can't be bothered with these banks that aren't willing to offer this service. I see now my banking is limited by this power of attorney issue. If someone wants to get pushy with them, feel free and report. By the way when I emailed they didn't even respond to my email which demonstrates poor customer service.  

Would creating a joint account get around this obstacle?

April 14, 2017
1:58 am
Loonie
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I don't see why it wouldn't work to have a joint account. You just need to ask yourself if that's what you really want. Don't do it ONLY to avoid POA problems. You have more protection with a POA than a joint account.

I am seriously considering converting all mine to joint. It does reduce your potential CDIC coverage though. For some people, that might mean that they have to open accounts at more financial institutions in order to be covered.sf-confused

April 14, 2017
6:55 am
JustMe2016
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No matter the CDIC, or DICO coverage, it is good practice not to put all of one's financial eggs in the same basket...

April 14, 2017
9:58 am
AltaRed
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I agree. Never open a joint account with your POA just to get around a POA problem. Joint, e.g. JTWROS, accounts should be reserved to those with other major financial ties, e.g. husband and wife.

P.S. Your POA should not be your spouse due to the higher risk of degenerating together (similar age) or both becoming vegetables after a vehicle accident, or one dies and the other becomes a vegetable, etc. Same reason for your executor not being your spouse. OR at least name a second person as an alternative in case the first person (if your spouse) cannot act on your behalf for one reason or another.

April 14, 2017
11:12 am
Cranston
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Joint on really helps for non-registered accounts. And minimizes some loss of control. Joint (like wife and husband or other solid pair) should also be considered for home, vehicles, time shares, cottages etc.

BUT

As mentioned the "what ifs". Ie What if one dies and the other is or becomes handicapped from a stroke and can't speak or is progressively becoming deaf. So a POA would be a blessing in this case especially if there were virtual financial institutions involved.

As soon as you involved in registered accounts it is all well and good to make sure you have beneficiaries and alternate beneficiaries but what about the incapacities that happen "in between" life and death?? And as far as I know registered accounts like TFSA, RRSP and RRIF cannot be joint. POA is needed for sure.

And it is this "in between" that a lot of virtual financial institutions don't want to acknowledge.

We just did POA's husband for wife and wife for husband and one of our daugters name is included on the POA if wife or husband cannot act.

April 14, 2017
11:27 am
Cranston
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Loonie said
I don't see why it wouldn't work to have a joint account. You just need to ask yourself if that's what you really want. Don't do it ONLY to avoid POA problems. You have more protection with a POA than a joint account.

I am seriously considering converting all mine to joint. It does reduce your potential CDIC coverage though. For some people, that might mean that they have to open accounts at more financial institutions in order to be covered.sf-confused  

Instead of joint you can add someone with signing authority. Another option? Would I do.....I am not sure.

April 14, 2017
1:02 pm
christinad
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I have to say i find the lack of acceptance of poas borderline discriminatory against single people.A joint account is fine if you are married but may not work for everyone. I'd feel weird about giving my sister a joint account. Too bad as i was interested in banking with alterna.

April 14, 2017
3:59 pm
Loonie
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Cranston said

Instead of joint you can add someone with signing authority. Another option? Would I do.....I am not sure.  

If they won't allow POA, why woulld they allow you to add another person with signing authority? Isn't that effectively the same thing - from their point of view.

April 14, 2017
4:06 pm
Loonie
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Yes, it is effectively discriminatory.
However, banks have always had the right to refuse accounts. I guess it's similar to that. If they don't offer what you want, you effectively don't qualify.
Still, I think there ought to be some legal mechanism to force them to deal with POAs. If it has legal teeth, then mechanisms can also be incorporated to ensure that the POA is legit, and that the bank isn't on the hook for bad behaviour.
Private member's bill anyone? - those are good for measures with popular appeal. Talk to your MPP/MLA re: credit unions; or MP re: banks.

April 14, 2017
4:35 pm
AltaRed
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Loonie, I actually don't think they have a choice. They have to deal with a POA that is legally binding in the province of jurisdiction because a FI cannot act contrary to the law in effect in their province. They are not above the law.

I remember a similar discussion that took place on a financial forum a few years back when RBC Direct Investing (if I recall correctly) did not want to accept anything other than their own POA form. RBC's legal dept folded on the issue when presented with the facts (I think a lawyer's letter) saying they were not above the law and had to accept a legally binding POA done up for financial, etc. purposes.

That said, it would be a hassle for a POA to go through all that simply to operate an account on a person's behalf. Likely best to simply transfer that person's account out to a less obnoxious company. Still, I would like to never let them get away with it if I was acting as that POA. I would take pride in "bringing them down" a notch or two just on principle.

April 14, 2017
6:35 pm
Buzz
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christinad said
I phoned alterna because I am interested in banking with them. They say their virtual account doesn't accept power of attorneys. I didn't push them on it because I don't even bank with them. I can't be bothered with these banks that aren't willing to offer this service. I see now my banking is limited by this power of attorney issue. If someone wants to get pushy with them, feel free and report. By the way when I emailed they didn't even respond to my email which demonstrates poor customer service.  

I called Alterna about opening an account with them as well. They refused to saying I don't have at least 6 months of credit history. I'm new to this country so I don't have any credit history.

April 14, 2017
6:40 pm
Cranston
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While a joint account is helpful for non-registered accounts now that I am much much older and seen how life really works it would be a good idea for a POA for non-registered accounts.

But when it comes to an FI not accepting a POA and deflecting you to have a joint non-registered accounts to solve your problem. It does not solve anything when that FI offers TFSA, RRSP and RRIF.

So a few questions to those FI's that offered registered funds and "supposedly" won't deal with a POA.

Why do you offer registered funds and my only due diligence is protect myself with a POA?

If you don't accept POA do you accept an Executor and if yes, what is the reasoning for one and not the other.

If you won't accept either POA or an Executor how do I or my estate access the funds?

And lastly the person that says no POA ..... I don't like to say this but you have to ask them if they are fully qualified to respond with a correct answer.

April 14, 2017
6:52 pm
Cranston
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christinad said
I have to say i find the lack of acceptance of poas borderline discriminatory against single people.A joint account is fine if you are married but may not work for everyone. I'd feel weird about giving my sister a joint account. Too bad as i was interested in banking with alterna.  

christinad said
I have to say i find the lack of acceptance of poas borderline discriminatory against single people.A joint account is fine if you are married but may not work for everyone. I'd feel weird about giving my sister a joint account. Too bad as i was interested in banking with alterna.  

It is discrimination for every one! A Will will cover your death and the POA covers a disabilty to communicate with the FI. And a POA is someone you really really trust. Could that person that you trust be joint with you and don't bother with POA?

The bottom line. Don't accept POA, don't deal with them. Don't deal with POA and then later say yes we do, don't deal with them as a wishy washy answer up front might tell you how much hassle you will have if POA has to be used. It is YOUR money and they are using it for their profit......so at least service your customer.

So now I have spewed....what is policy today can be changed tomorrow without you being advised.

December 3, 2017
5:03 am
Loonie
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CS Alterna Bank is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association
https://cba.ca/member-banks

The Canadian Bankers Association has a policy on Powers of Attorney and the acceptance thereof. it's a bit vague, but nowhere does it imply that a bank can or should categorically refuse a POA.
https://cba.ca/powers-of-attorney-bank-requirements

December 3, 2017
6:10 am
Bill
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I'm didn't follow this thread originally but it seems to me that joint accounts and POAs address different needs and circumstances.

Joint accounts allow all joint holders access to an account at any time. POA's (at least to my understanding) only come into life when someone is incapable of accessing their account - e.g. the Ontario gov't kit has the following wording, which suggests to me that incapacity is required: "I authorize my attorney(s) for property to do on my behalf anything in respect of property that I could do if capable of managing property......"

I agree with those here who say at the end of the day an fi (or anyone else) cannot refuse a legally-constructed POA. But I guess each fi can do what it feels it needs to do to safeguard clients' assets, so there may will be varying levels of hoops to jump through among them.

Please write your comments in the forum.