Prohibited Conduct for Financial Institutions
What you need to know
Information for our Customers and the Public
The Bank Act requires banks to inform their customers and the public that they will not:
- Take advantage of a person
- Impose undue pressure on a person
- Coerce a person or engage in Coercive Tied Selling
- Communicate or provide you with false or misleading information
These acts are prohibited conduct and are against the law.
HomeEquity Bank is providing this information to its customers, and the public, to help them better understand these important principles.
What is Prohibited Conduct?
To impose undue pressure on a person, for example, an excessive or persistent practice or communication by which a person might reasonably feel compelled to purchase a product or service.
A Bank can’t make you buy a product or service from them as a condition to get another one. For example, if you apply for a mortgage, they can’t make you buy another product or service as a condition to get the mortgage.
Coercive Tied Selling/To coerce a person, for example, forcing a person to obtain a product or service as a condition of being able to obtain another.
Banks are not allowed impose undue pressure on, or coerce a person to obtain a product or service from a particular person, including the bank and any of its affiliates, as a condition for obtaining another product or service from the bank.
In other words, a Bank representative cannot unduly pressure you to buy a product or service from that bank or any of its affiliates that you don’t want and they also can’t unduly pressure you into buying an unwanted product or service as a condition of obtaining the product you do want.
To take advantage of someone, for example, by abusing their vulnerability.
Provide false or misleading information, for example, whereby the necessary information has not been correctly disclosed to a consumer which would enable them to make an informed decision.
What is not Prohibited Conduct?
Most businesses, including HomeEquity Bank, look for different ways to show their appreciation for your business and loyalty.
Sales practices, such as preferential pricing and bundling of products and services, offer potential and existing customers better prices or more favourable terms.
Preferential pricing means offering customers a better price or rate on all or part of their business. For example, a fast-food outlet may offer you a second meal at half price when you buy one at the regular price.
Similarly, a Bank can offer you a product or service on better terms or conditions if you buy another one of their products or services. This also applies to anyone who represents them.
For example, you may get a loan from a bank and open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). They might offer you a better rate on your loan if you also buy your RRSP from them.
These practices should not be confused with coercive tied selling. The above practice is acceptable as the approval of your mortgage and RRSP loan is not conditional upon the taking of another bank product or service. Rather, you are offered preferential pricing to encourage you to give the bank more business.
Bundling of Products and Services means combining products and services and offering them as a package deal in order to give consumers better prices, incentives, or more favourable terms.
By bundling their products or services, businesses are often able to offer them to consumers at a lower combined price than if each product were purchased on its own.
Banks may offer you bundled financial services or products so that you can take advantage of package prices that are less than the sum of the individual items.
For example, you plan to open a bank account that charges you for individual transactions. You are offered a package of services that includes a comparable bank account, a credit card with no annual fee and a discount on purchasing traveller’s cheques. The total price for the package is less than if you purchased each part of the package separately.
Bundling products in this way is permitted because you have the choice of buying the items individually or in a package.
To ensure the safety of their depositors, creditors and shareholders, banks must carefully manage the risk on the loans and credit cards they approve. The law, therefore, allows the imposition of certain requirements on borrowers as a condition for granting a loan – but only to the extent necessary for us to manage our risk.
For example, you apply for an operating loan for your business. To manage the risk associated with the loan, the bank requires your business to have an operating account with them as a condition for obtaining the loan.
The above example is legal and appropriate. Having your business’ operating account at the bank allows your bank to assess possible risks associated with your business’ cash flow and manage the risk associated with the loan.
At HomeEquity Bank, our requirements for borrowers will always be reasonable and consistent with our level of risk.
What Can You Expect From Us?
You can expect all employees at HomeEquity Bank to comply with the law by not taking advantage of any person, imposing undue pressure on any person, coercing a person or engaging in coercive tied selling or communicating or providing any person with false or misleading information.
If you have experienced or witnessed any prohibited conduct involving a HomeEquity Bank employee or representative in any of your dealings with us, we would encourage you to please contact us so we can investigate accordingly.
How Can You Contact Us?
If you have a query or complaint of any kind concerning your dealings with HomeEquity Bank, we are committed to resolving it promptly and effectively.
You can contact the Banks Client Relations Team the following ways:
Fax: 1- 877-319-2447
Customer Care Representative
1881 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M4S 3C4
We encourage you to follow the process outlined on our dedicated Resolving Complaints webpage, to help you get your complaint resolved as soon as possible.
You will be able to find details of the Bank Handling process and other pertinent information such as the external complaint bodies and regulators whom we are regulated by, and their contact information.