RBC says increasing ATM regulation will reduce consumer choice

    Students and seniors well-served already

    TORONTO, April 19 /CNW/ - Citing the benefits that Canada's competitive
ATM network now provides across the country, RBC Royal Bank today cautioned
that any attempts to increase regulation would have the unwanted effect of
reducing services and increasing costs to Canadians.
    Speaking before the House of Commons Committee on Finance this morning,
James Westlake, group head of Canadian Banking for RBC, emphasized concerns
that the country's present ATM system offers maximum choice and accessibility
because it is based on very competitive user-pay pricing.
    "Without this competitive pricing flexibility, it is unlikely that we
would be able to continue to maintain a network of 4,000 plus ATMs -
innovation and access would suffer and costs to consumers would rise,"
Mr. Westlake explained. "Increase regulation and you will be reducing choice -
for students, seniors, people with disabilities and all Canadians."
    RBC has announced plans to expand its ATM network - already the most
extensive in Canada - by adding 264 on-site and 180 off-site locations over
the next three years. To enable easy student access, RBC has approximately 67
ATMs on 35 college and university campuses across the country, with 446 within
one kilometre of 229 campuses. As well, approximately 90 per cent of RBC Royal
Bank branches are wheelchair accessible, with more than 550 ATMs ergonomically
designed for ease of access. RBC also has 425 "talking" bank machines in
place, and was the first bank world-wide to provide audio-enabled ATM service.
    While acknowledging the Finance Committee's need to be responsive to all
Canadians, Mr. Westlake pointed out that, as Canada's largest bank, RBC needs
to be equally responsive to its own constituency - the 12 million Canadians
who have made RBC their financial institution of choice, in a very competitive
banking environment. "Competition drives the products and services we provide
to all our clients - that includes our ATM services," Mr. Westlake emphasized.
"We are in constant communication with our clients, and continuously review
our offerings in response to their feedback, to ensure we're meeting their
    Last week, RBC announced an enhanced line-up of personal account options,
offering more ways to earn higher interest, pay lower or no bank fees, and
within the RBC Signature No Limit Banking account, a refund of RBC fees for
three non-RBC ATM withdrawals. An unlimited debit transaction feature has been
added for students; seniors have an additional option which allows them to
bank for free.

For further information:

For further information: Kathy Bevan, Media Relations, (416) 974-8810

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