Big Five Canadian Banks

The largest banks in Canada are known as the "Big Five Banks" and they could be called the "flagship" group of banks which serve as a shining example of banking stability to the world. They are a model of financial reliability in the international banking industry, and are recognized as such. Let us review which banks compose this group that make up 85% of Canada's banking system.

The largest bank is the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Royal Bank). It's assets total $655 billion with deposits of $398.2 billion. It has 1,197 branches, and 71,186 employees.

The second largest bank is Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada Trust) with $557.2 billion in assets, $391 billion in deposits and it has 1,116 branches with 65,930 employees.

The Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank) is third largest with 496.5 billion in assets and $350 billion in deposits. It possesses 1,019 branches with 607,802 employees.

In fourth place is the Bank of Montreal (BMO) with $388.5 billion in assets, $236.2 billion in deposits but it only has 900 branches. It has 36,173 employees.

The fifth largest bank in Canada is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) with $335.9 billion in assets, $223.1 billion in deposits and 1,072 branches. It has 41,941 employees.

Royal Bank has consistently been the largest bank by a large margin. The rankings of the other four banks have changed, especially since the 1990's and after, due to reorganization and acquisitions both within Canada and internationally.

These five banks have exhibited a most stunning equilibrium in recent years in spite of the financial crises that have emerged within the banking sectors of other countries, most notably the U.S. banks. Interestingly, while interest rates were similar in both countries and they also possess "too large to fail" banks, operating policies differed considerably. Canada has within its government an overseer called The Financial Consumer Agency. This office, in part, protects consumers from lending irregularities by financial institutions.

Sometimes you might see the "Big Six Banks" term used, which is essentially the same "Big Five Banks" plus the National Bank of Canada, not to be confused with The Bank of Canada (the Canadian central bank). The only banks listed on Schedule I as a Canadian chartered national banks are the "Big Six Banks", and Laurentian Bank of Canada.