Federal banking regulators are warning financial firms about the improper use of the words “bank”, “banker”, and “banking” in their marketing materials, on websites, and elsewhere.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued an advisory today, which indicates that OSFI has observed increased use of the words “bank”, “banker” and “banking” by non-bank financial firms, which is restricted under the Bank Act.

The advisory sets out how OSFI interprets restrictions on the use of these words. The regulator notes that these restrictions apply to all non-bank financial service firms, including federally and provincially regulated institutions, and to unregulated financial firms.

OSFI notes that the advisory is in effect immediately, but that it is also giving firms time to comply with the restrictions. Firms must comply with the advisory on their websites and other electronic mediums by Dec. 31; by June 30, 2018 for print materials; and by June 30, 2019 for physical signage.

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