December 2, 2002 by Canadian Underwriter
Broker consolidator Western Financial Group (formerly Hi-Alta) has been incorporated as a bank by the federal Finance Ministry. Known as “Bank West”, the operation is expected to be up and running early in 2003, says Western Financial CEO Scott Tannas.
Bank West is the first start-up operation under the country’s new bank legislation, which came into force last fall.
The new bank will start with $7.5 million in tier one capital, and operate through Western’s existing network in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. This includes 40 offices throughout western Canada, and an existing customer base of 150,000. It will be headquartered in High River, Alberta.
“The award of this charter to Western Financial Group demonstrates how opening the Canadian financial services sector to new competitors will benefit customers, shareholders and, indeed, the economy of Canada,” says Tannas. “This is a banner day for all of us at Western Financial Group.”
Federal Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister John Manley says, “The changes the federal government introduced in its financial services sector legislation, which was passed in 2001, makes it easier for new banks to be established and hopefully flourish.”
Bank West will have to make a further application to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Services (OSFI) for an order to carry out business.