Top Banks in Canada

An overview of Canada's leading financial institutions

Overview of Banks in Canada

Banks in Canada include 29 domestic banks, 24 foreign bank subsidiaries, 27 full-service foreign bank branches, and 3 foreign bank lending branches. According to Moody’s, the outlook for Canada’s banking system is negative due to the expected reduction in government support for major domestic banks.

The Canadian banking system is a conservative system that consists of five main categories. They are:

  • Chartered banks
  • Trust and loan companies
  • Cooperative credit movement
  • Life insurance companies
  • Securities dealers

For anyone considering a career in banking in Canada, this list of top banks in Canada is a helpful guide on where to start.  To learn more, see our lists of financial institutions.


top banks in canada


The top banks in Canada are:


Bank of Montreal

Founded in 1817, Bank of Montreal is one of the five largest banks in Canada. The bank currently employs 45,234 staff and serves around 12 million customers. It provides retail banking, wealth management, and investment banking products and services.

As of 2016, the bank’s total income was US$15,574 million and total assets were US$548 billion.


Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

Established in 1832, Scotiabank is headquartered in Toronto in the province of Ontario. The bank is into personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking.

Scotiabank currently employs around 90,000 individuals and serves 23 million customers in 55 countries. In 2016, total income amounted to US$20.76 billion and total assets reached US$714.4 billion.


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Founded in 1867, CIBC is headquartered in Toronto. The bank operates through three strategic business units: Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management, and Capital Markets.

CIBC is the third strongest bank in the world, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine. It is present in the United States, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe.

The bank currently employs 43,213 staff. In 2016, the bank reported a total income of US$12 billion and total assets of US$400 billion.


Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Headquartered in Toronto, Royal Bank of Canada was founded in 1864. RBC provides services through five segments: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management, Insurance, Investor and Treasury Services, and Capital Markets. The bank currently employs around 78,000 staff and serves 16 million customers.

As of 2016, the total income of the bank was US$28 billion and total assets were US$1.2 trillion.


Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

Established in 1955, Toronto-Dominion Bank provides personal and commercial banking products and services in Canada, the United States, and several other countries. The bank employs 85,000 individuals and serves 11 million customers through its 1,150 branches.

In 2016, the bank’s total income amounted to US$6,375 million and total assets reached US$938 billion.


National Bank of Canada

Founded in 1859, the National Bank of Canada provides personal banking, commercial banking, insurance, and payment solutions and services. Headquartered in Montreal, the bank currently employs 22,000 staff and serves 2.4 million customers through its 450 branches.

As of 2016, the bank’s total income was US$4,650 million and total assets were US$185 billion.


Desjardins Group

Established in 1900, Desjardins Group is the largest of the cooperative group banks in Canada. Desjardins serves more than seven million members and clients and is active in 30 countries. It operates through four business segments: Wealth Management and  Life and Health Insurance, Property and Casualty Insurance, Personal Services, and Business Services.

The group is present in Quebec and Ontario. In 2016, it posted a net income of US$1,411 million and reported total assets of US$205 billion.


HSBC Bank of Canada

Headquartered in Vancouver, HSBC Bank of Canada is a subsidiary of HSBC Holding PLC. Incorporated in 1981, it operates through three business segments: Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Retail Banking and Wealth Management. It employs around 6,000 staff and is the seventh largest of the banks in Canada.

As of 2016, the total income of the bank amounted to US$59,836 million and total assets reached US$2,374.9 billion.


Laurentian Bank of Canada

Established in 1846, Laurentian Bank of Canada is headquartered in Montreal. The bank serves individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, and independent advisors. It offers investment products, including fixed-rate investments, indexed investments, mutual funds, systematic savings plans, retirement projection plans, registered plans, and guaranteed investment certificates.

As of October 31, 2016, it operated 145 branches, with offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Quebec. In 2016, the bank posted a total income US$729.59 million and reported total assets of US$34,244 million.


Canadian Western Bank

Founded in 1988, Canadian Western Bank represents the only Schedule 1 bank in Canada specializing in mid-market commercial banking. Headquartered in Edmonton, the bank operates in western Canada and provides mortgages, loans, personal accounts, investment products, business accounts, small business lending, insurance, and credit card services.

The bank employs around 2,000 staff and operates 42 branches. As of 2016, the total income of the bank was US$465.82 million and total assets were US$20,083 million.


Careers in investment banking

To break into investment banking, there are several important things to focus on.  These include networking, resume, experience, and financial modeling skills.  To learn more, explore our interactive career map….

investment banking careers

For banking careers, you will have a significant edge over the competition with our financial modeling courses.


Additional resources

This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in Canada.  For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking.  In addition to networking, a credential such as CFI’s Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) program can set you apart from the competition. Please also see these additional resources:

  • Top banks in the US
  • Top 100 investment banks in the world
  • Investment banking interview questions
  • Walk me through a DCF
  • Financial modeling guide

Financial Analyst Certification

Become a certified Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® by completing CFI’s online financial modeling classes and training program!