Finance committee hearings launched to probe bank practices

Former front-line employees have been invited to testify

Finance committee hearings launched to probe bank practices
In the wake of reports involving questionable practices at banks, the House of Commons finance committee has kicked off hearings to investigate, with former bank employees slated to appear before the body Wednesday.

“I understand that they are retired and they're not fearful of expressing their point of view, and I think that will be helpful to the committee,” Liberal MP and committee chairman Wayne Easter told CBC News.

Easter did not name those invited to appear, but said that some are retired while others have moved on to other employers. Those testifying before the committee will have parliamentary immunity, he said. According to CBC News, they have been approached by thousands of bank employees who describe being put under pressure to increase sales.

Aside from looking into the activities in the banks, Easter said the committee will also consider who should be regulating the alleged practices. “I'm still trying to determine who has the authority to deal with this problem,” he said. “Is it the regulators? Is it the labour code? Is it the Bank Act?”

Should the committee determine that there are problems, Easter said it can make a recommendation for the government to act. “Part of the responsibility of the committee … is to find the road map or to propose a road map [so] that there can be a [resolution] to the issue — if in fact there are bad practices taking place,” he said.

According to NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault, who initially suggested that hearings be held, the former employees who will testify are people who worked at the front lines. “I'm not talking about former presidents of the banks, executives or managers,” he told CBC News. “I'm talking about people who experienced those kinds of practices daily from their employer.”

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