Read Our Blog

OSFI Bans Use of Banking Terms for Credit Unions


Online-what-cha-ma-call-it? OSFI bans use of words bank, banker, banking for credit unions.

Imagine being told that you are no longer allowed to use a specific word. It’s what’s happening right now to hundreds of credit unions across Canada. You may have seen recent articles circulating social media with the hashtag #iBANKwithacreditunion as individuals and businesses alike are outraged by the ban.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued an advisory on June 30th, 2017 that restricted the use of the words ‘bank’, ‘banker’ and ‘banking’ for non-bank financial service providers. This means credit unions can’t say things like ‘online-banking’ and a variety of other banking related services that are used across the industry. The reasoning behind the advisory is that it confuses consumers when credit unions and non-bank financial service providers say things like “We provide banking services”. 

This may not seem like a big issue – so credit unions have to come up with witty catchphrases and rename a bunch of things – but it is. Replacing digital, print and physical marketing materials will cost millions of dollars. Credit unions are known for their philanthropic giving back to their communities – the cost to replace marketing collateral will be paid by way of discontinued partnerships, scholarships, grants, community investment and more.

In today’s industry, being competitive means being digitally relevant. Without being able to use key words to identify services, we will be put at a competitive disadvantage.

There’s a way that you can make a difference and here’s how:

  1. Share this post on social media
  2. Use the hashtag #iBANKwithacreditunion
  3. Write a letter to your Member of Parliament letting them know that you disagree with this advisory. Use our template here. Please note that mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.

Credit unions are not banks – and we’re proud of that fact. That said, we do provide wide-ranging financial solutions including ‘banking’ services.  Let us remain transparent so that our consumers do not become more confused. We would like to be able to say what we mean.