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Canada proposes to expand CUs as federal entities
TORONTO (3/8/10)--Canada’s credit unions may be able to expand countrywide if budget proposals released Thursday by the Canadian government to allow credit unions to incorporate as federal entities are approved. Credit unions in Canada currently are provincially regulated. The proposal would put credit unions on a level playing field with big banks, which currently dominate Canada’s financial industry, said Bloomberg (March 5). Credit union market share varies in each province, but credit unions have a strong presence in British Columbia--where credit unions hold up to 25% of residential mortgages. If credit unions are approved to become federal entities, they would face the same rules as banks--which would give them the ability to offer new products. However, like banks, they would not be allowed to sell insurance in their branches, Bloomberg said. The Canadian Bankers Association said in a statement that the industry welcomes new competition into the marketplace, but at the same time, the association said it is essential that “any new type of national financial institution operate on a level playing field with other players in the marketplace.”


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