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Why seniors should talk to their bank

We all know Canadian banks report huge profits every year. Even during that nasty recession a few years ago, our banks flew through it mostly unscathed. And they just keep rolling along. In fact, in the first quarter of this year alone most of...


We all know Canadian banks report huge profits every year. Even during that nasty recession a few years ago, our banks flew through it mostly unscathed. And they just keep rolling along. In fact, in the first quarter of this year alone most of them reported a billion (note the B) dollars in profit.

I’ve always reasoned that a good portion of the banks profits can be attributed to the outlandish service fees we are forced to pay. I know I’m dinged with at least $20 in fees every month, and I’m sure that’s not unusual. So when I give you this little bit of advice, don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of it. If you’re over 60 and bank at Toronto Dominion or CIBC, there could be a lot of cash sitting on the table, that by rights is yours.

If you fit into this age demographic and are still paying full pop on these nasty service charges, make a point of calling or dropping by your branch. It’s a little known fact, but most banks offer either free or substantial discounts on their service fees for Canadian seniors over 60. Problem is, most banks don’t volunteer this information.

Once you turn 60 you probably won’t see any changes to your statement and unless you make the inquiry, don’t assume it will automatically be extended to you.

What’s even better, they may rebate you your fees retroactive to you turning 60. My brother in-law who is 67 found out about this little deal few months ago. He made the call, and received an $1,100 dollar credit (seven years of service charges).

After hearing of his windfall, another sister who is turning 62 made the phone call and received over $200 in her pocket (two years of service charges) while another brother-in-law who deals with RBC started receiving a 20% discount automatically when he turned 60 (RBC goes to the head of the class, they were the only bank to automatically give this discount without being prodded).    

Unfortunately, during the conversation my sister had with her bank manager, she was told that the bank is going to stop giving these types of retroactive refunds.

No wonder. Over $1,300 was paid out…and that’s just between two people! I suppose there’s always the chance that my family is the exception, and the vast majority of Canadians over 60 are benefiting from free or discounted service fees, but I doubt it. E-mail me and let me know how you made out. I’m planning on a follow-up column next month.


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