12 Facts About ATB Financial


ATB Financial is a financial institution and Crown corporation wholly owned by the province of Alberta.

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Originally established as Alberta Treasury Branches in 1938, ATB Financial operates only in Alberta and provides financial services to over 800,000 Alberta residents and businesses.

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ATB Financial is not a chartered bank, meaning it is not regulated by the Canadian federal government under the Bank Act and associated regulations.

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ATB is instead regulated entirely by the Government of Alberta under the authority of the ATB Financial Act and associated regulations; the legislation is modeled on the statutes, regulations, and guidelines which govern banks and other federally chartered financial institutions.

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ATB Financial is not a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or Alberta's provincial Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation; deposits are instead fully guaranteed by the Government of Alberta itself.

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ATB Financial is one of fifteen financial institutions that participates in Canada's Large Value Transfer System.

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ATB Financial was the subject of scandal in the late 1980s after clients such as Peter Pocklington's Gainers Foods and the Ghermezian Brothers' West Edmonton Mall defaulted on loans.

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Provincial Treasurer Jim Dinning quickly introduced legislation to create an independent board of directors made up of government appointees was established in 1996 and ATB Financial formally became an autonomous provincial Crown corporation on October 8,1997.

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In 1998 ATB Financial filed a lawsuits against the former acting superintendent of the bank and the Ghermezian family alleging the family bribed the official to issue a commercially unreasonable loan guarantee for West Edmonton Mall.

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The loan agreement provided unusual concessions such as allowing dividends to continue to be paid, prevents ATB Financial from initiating foreclosure proceedings for 20 years and included a lease that allowed the Ghermezian family the right to manage the mall for 99 years.

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The Parkland Institute argued ATB Financial could be used to provide low cost financing to Albertans, financing social housing, financing climate change goals, purchasing government debt and providing for agricultural growth.

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The Parkland Institute further argues against privatization due to the vast network of rural and remote branches ATB operates, which would not be financially viable for a traditional bank without a similar mandate.

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