Banks defend position in credit crunch

TORONTO: The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is in the midst of a full-blown media campaign to defend the country's five big banks - RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC - which have come under political pressure to lend more money.

TORONTO: The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is in the midst of a full-blown media campaign to defend the country's five big banks - RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC - which have come under political pressure to lend more money.

The banks CEOs met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on Monday, January 5th . The following day, Flaherty announced a new working group of bank and government officials to help with credit flow.

The bank CEOs did not speak to the media. Instead, the PR role is being handled by CBA president Nancy Hughes Anthony. While the CBA declined comment for this article, Anthony attended the closed-door meeting and was the only attendee to issue a statement. And last week, she continued to hammer the message on behalf of its 51 chartered bank members that they are, in fact, providing credit to worthy applicants.

Her Op-Ed pieces have been published in a number of major dailies, as well as letters to the editor to both The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. In the latter case, Hughes Anthony responded to a front-page story on Tuesday, January 6 that carried the headline, “Banks won't loosen credit.” In her letter published the following day, she pointed out that bank lending to businesses had increased by 13.4% in November 2008 versus a year earlier.

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