TORONTO — The national group representing credit unions says its members are being treated unfairly by a federal regulator which prohibiting them from using the terms “bank,” “banker” and “banking” to describe their services.

The Canadian Credit Union Association says the ban on the terminology makes it “difficult for credit unions to compete fairly with banks.”

The directive was contained in an advisory issued June 30 by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI).

The association says it has interpreted the advisory to mean that any member who continues to use these terms can face criminal charges.

The group also notes that due to the changes, credit unions will have to remove any banking references from their advertising materials and their websites — a move it called an “unnecessary and expensive undertaking.”

The Canadian Press