Payday Lending & Remittances

Learn more about ACORN Canada's groundbreaking campaigns regulate payday lending and international remittances and money transfers.

Actions nationwide to regulate remittance transfers

March 3, 2011 - Yesterday ACORN Canada members from 20 chapters nationwide called on the Provincial Governments and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to take immediate steps to regulate the remittance industry in Canada.  Remittance providers have been shown to charge as much as $50 in fees for a simple $100 remittance from Canada to a country in the developing world.

In Metro Vancouver ACORN Canada members marched to the headquarters of the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) in Surrey and held a rally.  Leader Pascal Apuwa delivered a letter and a copy of of the report Past Time for Remittance Justice to the CEO Carolyn Rogers and secured a future meeting to discuss steps that FICOM could take to rein in this rogue industry.

In Ottawa 25 members were joined by member of SEIU Canada local 2 and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for a rally at the FCAC.  Leader Michelle Walrond delivered a letter to the FCAC calling on them to bring in regulations that meet the World Bank’s recommended rate cap of 5% on all remittance fee’s.

In Toronto members held a press conference on the steps of the Ontario Ministry of Finance after being refused entry to deliver a letter to the Minister of Finance’s office.  Global TV and  other press outlets covered the event.


Fast Forward Weekly: Bank fees 'killing' migrant workers

An international community-based, low-income advocacy organization is calling on the Canadian government to regulate the “predatory” remittance industry.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Canada (ACORN Canada) says the unregulated practise of charging up to 50 per cent for money transfers — a $400-billion industry according to the World Bank — is punishing migrant workers and immigrants, many of whom send money to their families back home.

“The remittance fee is killing us,” says Kay Bisnath, president of ACORN International. “Migrant workers’ and immigrants’ families depend on the money that their loved ones in Canada and around the world send to their homeland.”

Bisnath says banks and money transfer businesses can charge as much as 50 per cent in remittance fees. A migrant worker sending $100 to their family can be charged between $32 and $35 through the TD Bank, says Bisnath. “When you have to pay all these remittance fees, what are the loved ones left with?”

ACORN is calling for the Canadian government to limit the amount banks and financial institutions can charge to five per cent.
“We’re trying to end this predatory practise by the banks and financial agencies,” says Bisnath.

The original article is available at:

Toronto Star: Immigrants gouged on money transfers

December 10th, 2010 by Carol Goar in the Toronto Star

They fought to get their landlords to clean up their cockroach-infested apartments and won. They fought to get payday lenders to lower their astronomical borrowing rates and won. Now ACORN Canada, a network of low-income Canadians, is embarking on its most ambitious project.

It has just launched a campaign to get North American banks to reduce the “predatory” fees they charge immigrants and migrant workers to transfer money to their families back home.

ACORN made its first move Monday. It released a report showing the rates charged by Canada’s chartered banks, their American counterparts and two money-transfer companies to send $100 to various destinations.

The figures were startling. Fees ranged from $3.70 to $66.25 (not including the pickup charges usually imposed at the receiving end).

Here is a sample, using a transfer of $100 from Toronto to Mexico:

• MoneyGram, which has the lowest fees, charges between $3 and $10 (depending on the service and destination) plus an exchange rate fee of 70 cents for a maximum total of $10.70.