What Are the Big Five Banks?

The Big Five Banks is a term used in Canada to describe the five largest banks: Royal Bank, The Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia and TD Canada Trust.

Understanding the Big Five Banks

Occasionally, the term "Big Six Banks" is used, with the sixth bank referring to the National Bank of Canada. As of March 2008, the Big Six Banks and Laurentian Bank of Canada are the largest banks in Canada. The Five Big Banks hold over $100 billion in assets, and they are all based in Toronto. World Atlas provides the following data on each of the Big Five Banks.

Royal Bank Of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest of the Big Five with respect to revenue (C$38.2 billion, according to World Atlas data from 2017) and capitalization (C$130.1 billion). The Royal Bank of Canada has over 16 million clients worldwide, over 74,000 full-time employees and 1,355 branches. Founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the bank financed the lumber and timber industries. It was known as the Merchants Bank of Halifax. The Royal Bank of Canada gives 1% of its income to charity.

Toronto-Dominion Bank

The second largest bank in Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank has the most assets, which are valued at C$1,104.37 billion. This bank has over 22 million clients worldwide, 85,000 full-time employees and 1,165 branches. The bank was the result of a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955.

Bank Of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia, or Scotiabank, is the next largest bank in Canada with assets valued at C$856.49 billion, revenue of C$26.4 billion and capitalization of C$89.6 billion. The bank has over 23 million customers worldwide, 89,000 full-time employees and 1,040 branches in Canada. This bank offers trade on both the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Also founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this time in 1832, the bank moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900 to improve the transAtlantic trade industry. 

Bank Of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank with C$641.88 billion worth of assets, revenue of C$20.9 billion and capitalization of C$57.2 billion. The bank has over 7 million clients in Canada and 939 branches. The bank has over 47,000 employees. It was founded in 1817 and is the oldest bank in Canada. Throughout crises such as World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the Bank has consistently met dividend payments.

Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has C$463.60 billion in assets, revenue of C$14.8 billion, and capitalization of C$42.1 billion. The bank has over 11 million clients worldwide, 1,100 branches in Canada and over 42,000 full-time employees worldwide. The bank was formed in 1961 when the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged.