RBC says increasing ATM regulation will reduce consumer choice
Citing the benefits that Canada’s competitive ATM network now provides across the country, RBC Royal Bank today cautioned that any attempts to increase regulation would have the unwanted effect of reducing services and increasing costs to Canadians.
Speaking before the House of Commons Committee on Finance this morning, James Westlake, group head of Canadian Banking for RBC, emphasized concerns that the country’s present ATM system offers maximum choice and accessibility because it is based on very competitive user-pay pricing.
“Without this competitive pricing flexibility, it is unlikely that we would be able to continue to maintain a network of 4,000 plus ATMs - innovation and access would suffer and costs to consumers would rise,” Mr. Westlake explained. “Increase regulation and you will be reducing choice - for students, seniors, people with disabilities and all Canadians.”
RBC has announced plans to expand its ATM network - already the most extensive in Canada - by adding 264 on-site and 180 off-site locations over the next three years. To enable easy student access, RBC has approximately 67 ATMs on 35 college and university campuses across the country, with 446 within one kilometre of 229 campuses. As well, approximately 90 per cent of RBC Royal Bank branches are wheelchair accessible, with more than 550 ATMs ergonomically designed for ease of access. RBC also has 425 “talking” bank machines in place, and was the first bank world-wide to provide audio-enabled ATM service.
While acknowledging the Finance Committee’s need to be responsive to all Canadians, Mr. Westlake pointed out that, as Canada’s largest bank, RBC needs to be equally responsive to its own constituency - the 12 million Canadians who have made RBC their financial institution of choice, in a very competitive banking environment. “Competition drives the products and services we provide to all our clients - that includes our ATM services,” Mr. Westlake emphasized. “We are in constant communication with our clients, and continuously review our offerings in response to their feedback, to ensure we’re meeting their needs.”
Last week, RBC announced an enhanced line-up of personal account options, offering more ways to earn higher interest, pay lower or no bank fees, and within the RBC Signature No Limit Banking account, a refund of RBC fees for three non-RBC ATM withdrawals. An unlimited debit transaction feature has been added for students; seniors have an additional option which allows them to bank for free.
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