Banks in Canada responding to the unique needs of seniors

June is Seniors’ Month in several provinces and territories across Canada, a time to recognize and celebrate the significant and meaningful contributions of seniors in our lives and in our communities. As the proportion of the senior population in Canada continues to grow, it is more important than ever to engage them in preparing financially for their future years.

“Seniors have always been a significant and growing customer base for banks in Canada,” says Neil Parmenter, President and CEO, Canadian Bankers Association. “The banking industry is committed to serving all segments of the Canadian population and responding to customers’ changing circumstances as they go through different stages of life.”

Financial literary seminars for seniors across Canada

The banking industry has long recognized that it has a role to play in supporting and strengthening the financial literacy skills of Canadians, including seniors, and banks offer several programs towards meeting this goal. The CBA administers Your Money Seniors, a free, non-commercial seminar program developed in collaboration with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, for Canadians entering – or already in – retirement.

“Financial literacy is a life-long learning experience and a critical life skill no matter your age,” says Parmenter. “Advancing financial literary is an important part of the CBA’s overall mandate. The Your Money Seniors program has become a cornerstone of the banking industry’s efforts to promote financial literacy among seniors in Canada.”

On the heels of its successful sister program, Your Money Students, the seniors-focused program covers essential information on how seniors can:

  • protect themselves against financial abuse;
  • spot the signs of financial fraud; and
  • make the most of their money in retirement.

Since launching Your Money Seniors in 2014, the CBA and its volunteer bankers network have delivered seminars across Canada, reaching thousands of seniors throughout the country. The program aligns with and reinforces the federal government’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy.

Banking services for seniors

Banks in Canada understand that they play an active role in the lives of Canadian seniors and offer a number of accounts and services designed specifically for these customers.

Accounts –Several banks offer account packages designed specifically for seniors, including low-fee and no-fee accounts. These unique accounts offer regular transactions such as withdrawals, deposits, transfers, bill payments and cheque-writing privileges. Guaranteed Income Supplement beneficiaries are also eligible to have the fees waived for the low-fee account.

Power of Attorney – Banks make available general information to their clients on Powers of Attorney (POA) and joint deposit accounts, provide training to their staff on the disclosure of that information and have internal resources available to staff should more complex issues arise.

Retirement planning – Banks provide tools to help seniors and near-seniors plan and manage their income to make the most of their money in retirement. Banks can also provide advice and resources to help those seniors who might be heading into retirement with debt.

Digital banking is making life easier

Rapid developments in banking technologies have made it easier for customers to conduct many of their transactions anywhere, anytime and on any device. While physical branches still have a part to play in the overall banking mix, for customers with accessibility issues, digital banking services offer convenient barrier-free access to a growing range of services.

Millennials and Gen X are not the only generations driving the widespread adoption of online and mobile banking; other demographic groups are also actively using these digital services. According to How Canadians Bank, a recent poll commissioned by the CBA, more than three-quarters of Canadians (76 per cent) use digital channels to conduct most of their banking transactions. For the Boomer and the Silent generations, that number was 73 per cent and 65 per cent respectively.

Helpful resources for seniors

Top Forms of Financial Abuse
Top Forms of Financial Fraud
Protecting Yourself from Financial Abuse
Powers of Attorney: What consumers needs to know, Bank requirements and Opening a bank account
Joint Accounts
Money in Retirement
Managing Debt
Banks and financial literacy

About the Canadian Bankers Association
The Canadian Bankers Association is the voice of more than 60 domestic and foreign banks that help drive Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. The CBA advocates for public policies that contribute to a sound, thriving banking system to ensure Canadians can succeed in their financial goals. www.cba.ca.

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SOURCE Canadian Bankers Association