Lake Country Mayor James Baker. (File)

Lake Country mayor bashes big banks ‘profiting from pandemic’

Mayor James Baker said lending institutions are taking advantage of an unavoidable situation

Lake Country Mayor James Baker has contacted the provincial and federal governments to convey the “significant concern, frustration and frankly disgust” from his residents over the way mortgage providers and big banks are handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baker said such corporations are profiting off of interest and fees charged on deferred mortgage payments.

“Citizens in our community are deeply troubled and trying to navigate how they will provide for their family in the coming months, into the future, and when the economy is in a recovery phase,” wrote the mayor in his email to Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau and B.C.’s Finance Minister Carole James.

Baker said council appreciates the governments request to financial institutions to provide mortgage deferral options to customers who are financially unstable as a result of the pandemic, however those institutions have in turn began taking advantage of the “unavoidable situation customers find themselves facing.”

“Programs offered force customers to pay exorbitant deferral rates and fees, knowing the customer has no other option to exercise,” he said. “Across Canada individuals and businesses are being called out and punished for profiteering in this crisis yet our wealthiest institutions stand to profit even more, charging interest on interest.

“District of Lake Country council, community and all Canadians trust that you and your staff will review the situation and put suitable regulations into place to eliminate the financial gain banks, our richest, most profitable and protected companies are incurring as a result of COVID-19.”

READ MORE: ‘Phased return’ to school for Central Okanagan teachers

READ MORE: New Kelowna medical manufacturer to make 20 million masks per month

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