Credit unions no longer able to do ‘banking’

Talks have broken off between the Steelworkers and Kootenay Savings Credit Union.

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From now on you won’t be allowed to do any “banking” with your local credit union.

That is because an advisory of the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued on June 30, 2017, states credit unions are no longer allowed to use the term “banking” or anything associated with it for what credit unions do.

Credit union managers, employees, and customers alike have expressed outrage at this decision, fearing that life will be made very strange for everyone from now on.

In the dictionary, “banking” something indicates piling it; examples are given of anything from river banks to piggy banks. In a professional sense, one can bank overtime hours and vacation time, so the term “banking” has multiple implications outside of the financial world.

Last week, Kootenay Savings Credit Union issued a press release to express their disappointment at being banned from the banking world, at least from a linguistic standpoint.

“Their advisory takes a strict interpretation of the Bank Act, and based on this interpretation, the federal government could lay criminal charges against any credit union that uses the term “bank”, “banker”, or “banking,” stated Brent Tremblay, President and CEO of Kootenay Savings.

A further development of this decision is the financially onerous task of updating the marketing documentation that financial institutions provide to their customers.

“And if they [the credit unions] are not allowed to use banking for what they do, given this literal interpretation of the term, will banks be disallowed from giving credit in the form of loans and credit cards, which is what credit unions were doing historically?” a KSCU customer said.

“This makes no sense,” the customer added, shaking his head.

The president of KSCU said, “We are obviously disappointed in this decision. It goes against all elements of common sense, and puts credit unions at a distinct disadvantage. Credit unions have used the verb ‘bank’ and the term ‘banking’ to describe what they do, without penalty, for years with the tacit support of federal officials.”

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