List of Banks in Canada

This article reviews the top 10 list of Banks in Canada, highlighting everything you need to know.

List of Banks in Canada
List of Banks in Canada

When it comes to banking, Canada has one of the best and most accessible banking systems globally. As an immigrant in Canada, you may find it difficult to choose the best bank for you since you’re not used to the system. However, we’ve simplified everything for you by providing you with the list of banks in Canada and other important banking details. All of these are necessary for you to make an informed decision when choosing the best bank for you in Canada.

Understanding the Structure of Banks in Canada

The banking system in Canada is very robust, hence, all financial institutions are generally categorized into five broad groups. They include:

  • Chartered Banks
  • Life Insurance Companies
  • The Cooperative Credit Movement
  • Security Dealers
  • Trust and Loan Companies

From the last data (taken on December 31st 2022), it was discovered that there are just 34 domestic banks, including 2 federally held Credit Unions in Canada.

Categories of Banks in Canada

According to the bank act, there are three main categories for all banks operating in Canada. They include:

1. Schedule I

Schedule I banks are domestic banks in Canada that are not subsidiaries of any foreign bank. Essentially, this category of banks is authorized by the Government to receive deposits and may even be qualified for deposit insurance via CDIC.

Examples of Schedule I banks are TD, RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, BMO, Tangerine, Equitable Bank, National Bank of Canada, etc.

2. Schedule II

Schedule II banks are primarily subsidiaries of other eligible foreign banks. They are also authorized by the Government to accept deposits. Examples of this category of banks include HSBC Bank Canada, Citibank Canada, ICICI Bank Canada, and Bank of China (Canada).

3. Schedule III

This category of banks includes branches of eligible foreign banks that are operated in Canada. These banks are authorized by the Government under the Bank Act to execute banking operations in Canada. Examples of Schedule III banks are Bank of America, Deutsche Bank AG, Capital One Bank, Citibank N.A., as well as BNP Paribas.

Generally, Schedule III banks function under certain restrictions. For instance, they are limited from receiving deposits that are less than $150,000.

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List of Top 10 Banks in Canada

Here, we’ve provided a list of banks in Canada. These top 10 highly-rated banks can also be compared to other best and high-ranking banks globally.

1. Toronto-Dominion Bank

As per statistical reports from 2022, Toronto-Dominion Bank is the largest bank in Canada. The bank’s total assets amount to about 1.92 trillion Canadian dollars,  making it the bank that controls the most asset in Canada. The net income of Toronto-Dominion Bank in the year 2020 was C$ 11.9 billion, and the earnings that the same year were estimated at C$29.9 billion.

The bank was established in 1955, and it is currently headquartered in Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is also one of the biggest banks globally, and it was rated 66th in 2015 on the Forbes Global 2000.

Many immigrants in Canada choose TD because they have numerous branches and even ATMs. The bank generally has an intuitive online platform and mobile app. They also have a wide range of bonuses for newcomers.

2. Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is the second-largest bank in Canada in terms of total controlling banking assets. This bank regulates total assets of roughly C$1.201 trillion. In 2020, RBC gained a net income of about C$11.4 billion and its revenue was about C$42.8 billion. This bank was established in 1864 and has employed hundreds of thousands of people so far.  The bank is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

RBC’s banking proposition presents newcomers with up to $550 value. One major advantage of using this bank is that you can withdraw cash from any ATM around you without paying any fee.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia

Bank of Nova Scotia is the third-largest bank when it comes to controlling total assets. It regulates approximately C$906.332 billion in assets and has thousands of employees so far. In 2020, this bank yielded a net income of about C$6.78 billion. The revenue that same year was around C$25.3 billion. Bank of Nova Scotia was founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is currently headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. This bank is known for offering newcomers a variety of products, specifically tailored to meet their needs.

4. Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal (BMO) is the fourth-largest bank in Canada, in terms of the total number of assets acquired. It regulates about C$708.617 billion of assets every year and generated a total revenue of about C$22.2 billion in 2020. In that same year, the net income of this bank was estimated to be C$ 5.10 billion.

Bank of Montreal was established in 1817, over 200 years ago and is one of the oldest banks. It is currently headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

When it comes to banking services, BMO is one of the best because of its years of experience. Their banking products are particularly designed to make the lives of customers a little easier.

This bank offers newcomers (people who moved into Canada within the past five years) about 12 months of banking without any monthly fee. They also offer a free safety deposit box for the first year, unlimited e-transfers, and many more products.


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is the fifth-largest bank in terms of total assets obtained. Reports from 2020 state that this bank has obtained total assets of about C$560.912 billion. In that same year 2020, it generated a total revenue of about C$ 16.2 billion. After they paid off all their expenses in 2020, the bank produced a total net profit of about C$3.79 billion. CIBC was established in 1961 and is currently headquartered in Commerce Court, Toronto, Ontario.

Over the years, CIBC’s chequing account has grown to meet the pressing needs of its customers. Customers of this bank can bank how they want to bank. Also, CIBC has one of the widest ATM networks across the whole of Canada and has a solid online and mobile banking platform.  

6. National Bank of Canada

From previous reports, the total assets obtained by the National Bank of Canada are about C$343.6 billion. In 2020, this bank generated a total revenue of approximately C$7.8 billion and a whopping net profit of C$2.5 billion. The National Bank of Canada was founded in the year 1859 and is currently headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

National Bank offers its new customers a custom package of banking services valued at $600. Also, as a newcomer, you also benefit from one year of free access to their special Assistance service for all newcomers.

7. Desjardins Group

Although Desjardins Group isn't a bank, it still deserves a place on this list because it is the biggest association of Credit Unions in the whole of North America. The group was founded in 1900 in Levis, Quebec, and is currently headquartered in the same place. This Credit Union provides you with a wide range of mouth-watering services, such as checking accounts, insurance, stockbroking, investment banking, asset finance, consumer finance, etc.

Desjardin group is a bonafide member of the Interact group and issues both Visa and MasterCard credit cards.

8. HSBC Bank Canada

When speaking of total assets amassed, HSBC Bank Canada has secured the eighth position on this list.

The bank has acquired total assets of about C$ 115.0 billion. The bank is a subsidiary of the multinational HSBC network, which has branches in numerous countries around the globe. Over 130 branches of this bank are mainly located in Canada’s main cities.

HSBC offers its customer a service called the “Global view”. The Global-View service makes it very easy for people who own HSBC accounts in other countries to access and transfer their cash within their other HSBC accounts.

The bank was established in 1981 and has grown to provide one of the best banking services in Canada. It is currently headquartered in Vancouver.

9. Laurentian Bank of Canada

In terms of total assets acquired, Laurentian Bank of Canada comes ninth on this list. The total assets obtained by this bank are about C$ 45.2 billion. In 2020, Laurentian Bank bank generated a revenue of about $8544.7 million. In that same year, the total net profit of the bank was estimated at $114.0 million. The bank was established in 1846 and is currently headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

Laurentian Bank of Canada offers numerous services and banking products that are also tailored to meet the needs of their customers.

10. Canadian Western Bank

In terms of the total assets amassed, Canadian Western Bank comes tenth. The total assets that this bank has acquired are about C$35.3 billion. The total net income of this bank was reported to be around $805.2 million. Canadian Western Bank is currently headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta.

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What are Canada’s Big 5 Banks?

The origin of five biggest banks in Canada can all be dated back to the mid-19th century. Currently, these banks are still fully operational and have branches and ATMs spread across the country.

These banks offer customers a full suite of quality financial services, including savings accounts, chequing accounts, brokerage services, investment mutual funds, business banking, insurance, mortgage loans, and much more.

Here’s the list of the “big 5” banks in Canada:

  • RBC
  • TD Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • BMO
  • CIBC

Other notable Schedule I banks you can find in Canada with substantial asset sizes and even market capitalization are the National Bank of Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada, HSBC Bank Canada, Equitable Bank, as well as the Canadian Western Bank.

What are the Benefits of Banking With the Big Banks?

Canada's best banks that we listed above all have their advantages and disadvantages. Check out the benefits of banking with the banks:

1. Branch Coverage

These banks have thousand of Branch locations spread across Canada. So you get to enjoy easy and seamless access to physical customer support in all parts of the country.

2. One-Stop Banking

When it comes to these banks, you can easily open a bank account that suits your numerous financial needs with just one of them rather than spreading them around. For instance, you can open your chequing, savings, investment, mortgage, personal loan, and even insurance accounts with the same bank.

3. ATM Coverage

All the big banks in Canada have thousands of ATMs you can access for free spread across Canada. This means that you can evade paying additional fees that accrue whenever you use any out-of-network ATMs that are owned by other banks.

4. International Reach

If you often travel abroad, any of the Canadian big banks that have branches globally can easily save you extra money. You won’t have to pay for using ATMs or any other financial transaction in your destination country.

5. Technology and Innovation

Large banks in Canada have a big budget and are especially committed to enhancing user experience and the interface designs of their platforms. These banks also pioneer smart technology that puts them at a better advantage compared to their competitors.

6. Stability

Any bank that has been operated for more than 100 years is very unlikely to vanish overnight. In fact, some of the big banks in Canada are considered too big to fail. So you have no fear when you bank with any of them.

Also, the banks encounter extra scrutiny from their regulators, supplying an additional layer of security for all of their customers.

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What are the Disadvantages of Banking With a Big Bank?

In exchange for the overall convenience and high level of stability, we’ve listed out some of the disadvantages of banking with a big bank:

1. Higher Fees

Generally, big banks charge their customers a fee for every transaction they execute. If the charge is not noticeable, go through the small print.

2. Poor rates

From very low-interest rates for savings to high personal loans and mortgage rates, big banks are definitely not the place to look for the most competitive rate. Also, there is limited room for customers to negotiate better rates.

3. Less Personalized Service

When it comes to customer service, there is always a bias. Unless your bank account balance is very huge, don't expect quality customer service. In terms of quality customer service, credit unions are a better option.

4. Watch out for Shady Practices

It’s no news that numerous big banks have been mixed up in different shady controversies in recent times. Some of these big banks may charge you extra for something unnecessary so you will end up paying more than you planned.

How Do I Choose the Best Bank in Canada For Me?

Before choosing a bank for yourself in Canada, make sure you learn how the different banks handle all of these:  

1. Banking fees

Many big banks in Canada will charge you a lot to have a chequing account (called the ‘current’ account in other countries).

These fees generally range from about $5 to $30 every month and largely depend on the number of transactions you make per month. Nevertheless, these fees can be moderated if you limit the number of transactions you make. Before you choose any bank ensure you compare their different transaction fees and go for the most reasonable fee.  

2. ATM charges

Generally, when you use ATMs that belong to your bank, you won’t get charged for the transaction. However, if you make use of the ATM of any other bank, the transaction will most likely incur a heavy charge.

If you make use of an ATM that is not owned by a bank (e.g. a privately-held ATM any restaurant or bar), both your bank and the ATM machine are likely to charge you extra fees.

These privately-held ATMs can attract a fee as high as $4 or $5 every time you use them. So it is in your best interest to avoid making use of them as much as possible.

When choosing the most suitable bank in Canada for yourself, consider the ATMs that are very close to your workplace and home.

3. Cheques

Cheques are an extremely popular method of payment in Canada. Many people you work for will demand a ‘void check’ at the outset of your employment. Employers ask for this because it will contain the bank details they will need to transfer cash to your bank account.

A void cheque is a check that has the word ‘void’ boldly written across it. Most banks will give you some of these kinds of cheques for free whenever you open a bank account.

Chequebooks are usually needed when you want t pay rent or register for a service, like daycare (if you already have kids). Cheques can cost you up to $40 for just a book containing 100 cheques, so beware of these charges when selecting the best bank to use in Canada.

4. Interac e-transfer

Interac e-transfer system is simply a large collection of both Canadian banks and dealers who all make use of identical payment systems.

This system works by allowing money to be sent online by inputting only the recipient’s email address. You don’t have to provide the third party’s bank details.

However, before you can do this, you and the recipient must own a Canadian account that can execute Interac email transfers.

5. Debit cards

Your bank debit card can be used to perform transactions almost everywhere, as long as you’ve not exceeded your monthly transaction limit. For this reason, you will make limited use of hard cash. Before you choose any bank, ensure that they provide a reasonable number of monthly transactions to their customers.

What Bank in Canada Can You Use to Transfer Funds Internationally?

Although you can use any of the big banks in Canada to execute funds transfer abroad, the process of initiating your transfer may be stressful. Hence, we recommend that you use a transfer service provider like SanaTransfer to send money from Canada to other parts of the world.

SanaTransfer platform is easy to use, seamless, convenient, and very fast. Also, you will be able to track any transaction you make to ensure that it gets to your recipient. This platform is the best option in terms of international transfers.

Wrapping Up

The list of banks in Canada has been extensively discussed above and the information will help you make an informed decision when choosing your bank. Before you choose the most suitable bank for you in Canada, ensure that you consider factors like their fees, ATM charges, cheques, etc. Make sure you compare all fees and rates before you make your final decision.

SanaTransfer offers easy, fast and secure payment services with better rates and faster payouts for international remittance. Sign up now to get started.

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