Some highlights from Barrie McKenna’s new Globe and Mail article:
“The information and documentation required to open and monitor an account within [Canadian Direct Financial] for a U.S citizen or resident outside of Canada is prohibitive to providing the level of service our clients expect and deserve,” explained Kirby Hill, a Canadian Western Bank vice-president and spokesman.
A number of financial institutions in Europe and elsewhere are already balking at doing business with Americans. But Canadian Direct Financial is believed to be a Canadian first.
Canadian Bankers Association spokeswoman Maura Drew-Lytle said she was unaware of any Canadian banks refusing to do business with Americans.
“It’s discrimination based on nationality,” said Kevyn Nightingale, a U.S. tax specialist at accounting firm MNP LLP in Toronto. “FATCA has put financial institutions in a conundrum.” Mr. Nightingale said the steep compliance costs simply aren’t worth the effort for some mid-sized financial institutions.
“I’m amazed this is the first one I’ve seen so far,” he said. “I would expect there would be more.”
Patricia Moon of Toronto, who renounced her U.S. citizenship more than two years ago, said the Alberta bank’s decision not to do business with Americans “demonstrates the harm” caused by Canada’s decision to share data with U.S. tax authorities.
“If all the banks started doing this, where are you going to open an account?” wondered Ms. Moon, a director of the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty, which is suing the Canadian government over its decision to share personal financial information with the U.S.