Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In European countries, a postal banking service is currently in operation. Does it work well? What could you tell the committee about it?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being with us this afternoon.
I am going to continue with you, Mr. Hannah, on the issue you have just raised. In Canada, at this time, what is the proportion of applications coming from students who are looking for work, as compared to the number of positions on offer in the banking sector? Are there any data on this?
I'm going to word the question in another way.
How many applications do you receive from people looking for work in the banking sector, as compared to the number of positions available?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Fine.
Mr. Irwin, if I'm not mistaken, your association is more or less in favour of a postal banking service, correct?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Fine.
You were saying that one of the objectives set out by those who are in favour of the creation of a postal banking service is to broaden access to credit.
Do you think that if Canada Post offered banking services, Canadians would have greater access to credit in all of its forms?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Fine.
My question is for you once again, Mr. Hannah.
In your document you present figures that indicate that thanks to the Internet and online services, Canadians have more access than ever to banking services. However, while travelling throughout Canada in the course of these 22 public consultation meetings we have held, our committee has observed that Canadians have trouble accessing the Internet because they live in very rural regions, or very remote areas in the North. Also, some bank branches are closing.
I think it would be good to know what you are saying to those Canadians. Personally, I hate cell phones, even though you saw me using one. In fact, I don't have a choice. I do prefer going to my bank in Beauport, where I live, to do my transactions. I function in a somewhat archaic way. I am conservative, after all.
As a representative of the Canadian Bankers Association, what do you have to say to these Canadians, whether they are seniors or people who live in rural areas, who have indicated that they have less access to banking services than they used to?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
I'd like to talk about another aspect my colleague mentioned, that is the amount of money Canada Post would have to have access to, from the outset. My colleague asked you what sort of money Canada Post would need to have on hand. He spoke of billions of dollars and you smiled, and said that it would be an enormous amount.
Generally speaking, what are the liquidities of Canadian bank branches? For instance, how much money does a regular National Bank branch, located on the side of the road in my riding, have in its coffers?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Hannah, my question is for you once again.
You are certainly aware that Canada Post once had a banking service system. This was before 1968. You undoubtedly know how this system functioned. Could you talk to us about it briefly? Did it offer the same type of banking services as a traditional bank?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, but history books exist. That is why I was asking you.
How did the banking sector do at the time, since Canada Post was an additional competitor? That is what I would like to know. What was the competition exactly? Did the Canada Post Corporation function well in that environment? Did it suspend its banking services because they were not profitable, perhaps? That was what I was trying to get at with my question.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will continue with my questions.
Mr. Hannah, as you were saying, there are already foreign banks in Canada that do good business.
In your opinion, how long would it take Canada Post to get into the Canadian banking market and comply with all of the rules and regulations of the banking system?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Precisely, Mr. Hannah, and this leads me to my next question.
What physical changes would Canada Post have to make to its post offices, both in rural and urban areas, to convert them into banking facilities?
You make me think of the fact that this would surely require huge investments, because the current premises would have to be transformed. We are talking about a physical transformation. They would need a vault, and so on. I want to go back to the issue of banks' liquidities. It takes room to store money. It would be quite a job.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You were also saying that we should not be mistaken: of course the banks like their clientele in the rural regions, and their objective is to have a good relationship with their clients and to meet the demand.
Has the banking sector ever considered sending representatives to people's homes, for example? Recently, a mortgage specialist came to my home. Does that exist for regular services?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Very well.
My next question is addressed to Mr. Martin.
As you were saying, we are discussing a postal banking service for the purpose of resolving Canada Post's financial difficulties, that is to say the deficit projected by 2026. In your opinion, that is not necessarily the solution. So it may be somewhat awkward to talk about a postal banking service.
I would like to hear you on the 10 other suggestions that were made over the past few weeks, or months, regarding additional services Canada Post could offer. I am thinking of passports, for instance, or issuing driver's licences—even though this is a matter of provincial responsibility—and of assistance to the elderly. These are services that are provided in Switzerland, France, and elsewhere.
What do you have to say about that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
In this committee, I have learned that Canada Post provided banking services until 1968. Do you know why the corporation cancelled that service? Can you tell us about it?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
However, you did say that providing banking services would be a good initiative.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Professor.
My question is now open to everyone. Any of you can answer.
If we opt for banking services, Canada Post’s 50,000 employees will have to be trained, so that they can provide that type of service. That surely would cost astronomical amounts. Who do you think should pay for the training of those 50,000 employees?
A very significant amount of money, perhaps around $500 million, would also have to be invested to set up the service. Two weeks ago, one of my colleagues mentioned that figure. In your opinion, where should the money come from to launch the banking service?
We can perhaps start with Mr. Rebeck.
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