Best Banks in Canada 2019

Best Banks in Canada 2019

Banks has become an integral part of human life, as it makes our daily financial activities stress-free. This is no different in Canada as banking in Canada started as far back as 1817 when the first bank (Bank of Montreal) was established.

Today, with a lot of top banks in Canada, banking in Canada is regarded as one of the best systems in the world and also the safest ranking in as number one for six years in a row (2007-2013) as the soundest banking system in the world according to world economic forum.

In this article, I will be highlighting on the best banks Canada, what to look out for when choosing the top banks in Canada and the Big Five.

In This Article
Banking in Canada
Canadian Banking System
The Canadian BIG FIVE
The Canadian Second-tier Banks
What to Look Out For
Top Banks in Canada by Market Capitalization
Best Banks in Canada
Best Interest Rate Savings Account
Best No-Fee Savings Accounts

Banking in Canada

Canada plays a big role in revolutionizing the world banking system, no wonder top Canadian banks are among the top banks in the world. Global Finance a world leading finance magazine place Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank among the top 15 worlds safest bank in the world.a

Canada which has the highest ATMs per capita in the world had about 18,000 automated teller machines with over 8, 000 chartered bank branches spread across the country. With the introduction of technology into the banking system, Canadians benefit from a high level of electronic channels penetration which includes: debit card, internet banking, telephone banking and the use of credit card.

Canadian Banking System

Banking in Canada as evolves over the year, setting a pace for other countries to follow. With over 18, 000 bank branches in Canada that spread across 29 domestic banks, 24 foreign banks subsidiaries in Canada, 27 full-service foreign bank branches, and 3 foreign bank lending branches.

The Canadian banking system consists of five major sections:

Chartered Banks

Chartered banks are also known as commercial bank. They are publicly licensed companies by the Canadian federal government to carry out a banking business within the borders of Canada. With this licensed being issued, the government has the sole right to regulate the sector including what they charge as interest rate, availability, and distribution of money among other things in Canada.

Trust and Loan Companies

The trust companies are the only legal financial institute with the sole responsibility to act as trustee by holding property in trust, pension plans, mutual funds financial, real-estate and deposit services.

Cooperative Credit Movement

This is a financial institute targeted at the low-income earner.

Life Insurance Companies

The insurance sector is a financial entity with activities including life, health, income insurance protection, annuities, wealth and asset management.

Securities Dealers

Securities dealers help to regulate and help to combat and financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing in Canada.

The Canadian BIG FIVE

Known informally as the Big Five, is the name given to the top five financial institutions in Canada. The big five consist of:

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank)
Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

These financial institutions are the largest five institute that dominates the banking sector in Canada. All the big five have their operational head office in Toronto where most institutes are located.

According to statista statistics, the big five are among the world leading banks by market capitalization with Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank coming in at 11 and 12 respectively.

Read More: Credit Cards: All You Need To Know

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) 

Regarded as the largest of the big five, the Royal Bank of Canada has her headquartered in Toronto. The bank was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia 1864 and has since then grown with a market capitalization of 109.06 billion dollars according to statista 2018 report. RBC has over 74,000 staff spread across her 1,355 branches serving over 16 million customers around the globe.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

The Toronto-Dominion Bank which is a merger of two financial institutes, Bank of Toronto and The Dominion Bank is a Canadian financial service institute with her headquarter in Toronto. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is the second largest bank in Canada with a market capitalization of 107.82 billion dollars.

Toronto-Dominion Bank has over 22 million clients all across the world, 85,000 employees spreading across her 1,165 branches. TD was founded in Nova Scotia in 1817 before moving to Toronto in 1955 after the merger was approved.

Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank)

Bank of Nova Scotia popularly known as ScotiaBank is the third biggest of the big five offering a wide variety of products and services which includes personal and commercial banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth.

ScotiaBank have a market capitalization of 78.947 billion dollars. The bank currently has a customer base of 23 million across 55 countries with over 90,000 full-time employees spread across 1,040 branches in Canada. Bank of Nova Scotia was found in Nova Scotia with her operating head office in Toronto.

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Bank of Montreal one of the top banks in Canada is the oldest bank in Canada founded in 1817, the bank is even older than Canada. BMO currently provides investment banking, retail banking, wealth management, and services.

Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest big five with a market capitalization of 53.181 billion dollars. The bank currently has 12 million customers, 47,000 employees across her 939 branches in Canada.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Establish in 1961, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is the fifth biggest of the big five banks. CIBC has her head office in Commerce Court, Toronto, Ontario. CIBC has a market capitalization of 43.544 billion dollars, with 42 million clients, 42,000 employees across 1,100 branches in Canada.

The Canadian Second-tier Banks

With the banking system in Canada predominantly dominated by the Big Five, there are other financial institutions operating in Canada with the same legal status and regulatory classification as that of the Big Five.

Most of these second-tier banks have few assets and lower customer base as that of the Big Five. Unlike the first-tier bank, the second-tier banks in Canada are limited to banking regulated activities.

Some notable second-tier banks in Canada include:

Canadian Western Bank
National Bank of Canada
Laurentian Bank
HSBC Bank Canada
Tangerine Bank

What to Lookout For in the Best Banks Canada

There are certain things to look out for when choosing or looking out for the best banks in Canada. These factors listed below should be considered before choosing any financial institution to bank with.

Banking Fee

Most banks in Canada charge their customers for having checking or chequing account. This fee (usually $5 – $30) are charged based on the customer monthly transaction. This fee is returned to the customer if they don’t go below a set amount in their account which will be stated by the banks during account opening.


Cheques are still a big part of the Canadian banking system. Financial institutions in Canada requires you to pay a certain amount to get their cheque book. It can cost up to $40 for a book of 100 cheques, so that note of this when choosing the best bank in Canada.

ATM Charges

When deciding which is the best bank in Canada for you, also take note that you will be able to use ATM owned by your bank without being charged but using another banks’ ATM will incur some charges on every transaction performed.

Read More: Best Credit Cards in Canada for 2019

Top Banks in Canada by Market Capitalization

Below is the list of best banks in Canada according to their market capitalization also known as stock market value.

BankOperational Head-officeMkt. CapitalizationAssetsRevenue
Royal Bank of Canada Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto $147.625 $1074.28 $38.2
Toronto–Dominion Bank Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto $140.316 $1104.37 $34.35
Bank of Nova Scotia Scotia Plaza, Toronto $98.356 $856.49 $26.4
Bank of Montreal First Canadian Place, Toronto $63.650 $641.88 $20.9
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Commerce Court, Toronto $52.1 $463.60 $14.8
National Bank of Canada Complexe Maisonneuve, Montreal $11.8 $156.3 N/a
Canadian Western Bank Canadian Western Bank Place, Edmonton $2.0 $14.8 N/a
Laurentian Bank of Canada 1981 McGill College, Montreal $1.0 $24.5 N/a
HSBC Bank Canada HSBC Canada Building, Vancouver N/a N/a N/a

No surprise that the Big Five occupy the top seat at the top banks in Canada by market capitalization.

Please Note: The report above is based on Wikipedia stats and all figures are in the Canadian dollar.

Best Banks Canada

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

The Scotiabank, one of the Big Five and the third biggest bank in Canada comes in as one of the best banks in Canada. With over 1,000 branches across Canada, Scotiabank offers a wide range of services and incentives.

One account that really stands out is the Momentum Plus Savings Account which offers incentives to account holders contribute to their account often without touching their money.

Scotiabank offers 4 chequing accounts and 3 no-monthly-fee savings plans and has a wide range of credit cards including American Express, Visa, rewards, cash back, lifestyle, and low-interest and no-fee cards.


Tangerine one of the top banks in Canada is a Canadian online bank that offers full financial service that the stationed banks offer. Tangerine offers 5 savings accounts, one chequing account, and one credit card. Tangerine unique selling point is her no-fee chequing account and credit card, and the low or no-fee savings accounts.

Though Tangerine as no physical branch, customers can get banking service through their online portal, mobile application, and their 24/7 customer support.

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Bank of Montreal one of the Canadian Big Five and the oldest bank in Canada offers full financial service with her branches spread across all the provinces in Canada. BMO offers 5 chequing account and 8 credit cards with incentives that earn you Air Miles, cash back and low interest. One notable BMO account is her savings accounts that accrue interest at up to 1.40%.

Bank of Montreal financial services is spread Canada with 47,000 employees across her 939 branches.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and as such offers services to 16 million customers, the royal bank of Canada packs among the best banks in Canada having over 1,355 branches serviced by 74,000 staff.

Royal Bank of Canada as a wide range of products that includes: 3 no-fee savings accounts, 4 chequing accounts, no-fee US dollar savings account, and over 10 credit cards spreads across 6 different categories.

National Bank of Canada


The National Bank of Canada is one of the major banks of the second-tier bank in Canada with diverse financial product including 4 savings accounts, 4 chequing accounts from basic to premium, US dollar account, and diverse credit cards.

Read More: Credit Card Fees and 10 Ways to Avoid Them

Best Interest Rate Savings Account

Choosing the best bank in Canada from the wide range of financial institutions in Canada can be something overwhelming or time-consuming so below we’ve sorted out best banks in Canada by their savings account interest rate.

Bank/Credit UnionAccountInterest Rate
Motive Financial Motive™ Savvy Savings Account 2.80%
Steinbach Credit Union Regular Savings Account 2.65%
Implicity Financial High-Interest Savings Account 2.40%
Alterna Ban High-Interest eSavings Account 2.35%
EQ Bank EQ Bank Savings Plus Account 2.30%
Oaken Financial Oaken Savings Account 2.30%
Canadian Tire High-Interest Savings Account 1.50%
Manulife Bank Advantage Account 1.40%
Tangerine Savings Account 1.25%
RBC High-Interest eSavings Account 1.20%

Best No-Fee Savings Accounts

While some banks or account met charge you a monthly or annual fee for operating their saving account. But we’ve sorted out lists of best banks in Canada with no-fee on their savings account and also with a competitive interest rate.

BankAccountInterest RateTerms
Ally Bank Savings Account 2.00% No minimum balance required
CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account 1.35% $5,000 Minimum Balance, You will only be charged fee's for making eAdvantage withdrawals through say an ATM or wire.
BMO Smart Saver Account 1.35% $5,000 Minimum Balance, No fee is incurred unless you go above the monthly transaction limit.
TD High Interest Savings Account 1.2% $5,000 Minimum Balance, But you will be charge a fee should you make any debit transaction on the account. Please note that if you carry a balance of $25K or greater, transaction fees will be waived.
ScotiaBank Power Savings Account 1.35% $5,000 Minimum Balance, But there is a flat rate of $5 being charged on every ATM withdrawals or Interact debit purchases on the accout.
RBC High Interest eSavings Account 1.25% You will charge a certain fee when you try and take money from your eSavings account: ATM Withdrawals ($5.00) email money transfers ($1.50), teller assisted transactions ($5.00) and pre-authorized payment ($5.00).
CIBC Bonus Savings Account 0.70% $3,000 Minimum Balance, the bonus savings account will allow you one free ATM withdrawal, outgoing transfer or debit purchase monthly.


Weighing up your option and see what each bank as in offer for you is essential, check around to get the financial institution with the best deal that accommodates your financial life.

See what they have to offer you as far as mortgages are concerned, do not be shy it’s your money they’ll be taken care of, and you have every right to ask as many questions as needed to feel secure you’ve made the right choice.

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