Introducing the Big Six

The big six banks is a term used in Canada to describe the National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank, the Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), and Toronto Dominion Bank (TD).

Key Takeaways

  • Headquartered in Montreal, the National Bank of Canada is Canada’s sixth-largest commercial bank and has branches in nearly all of the Canadian provinces.
  • The Royal Bank of Canada, along with its subsidiaries, operates as a diversified financial services company.
  • The Bank of Montreal (BMO) Financial Group is a diversified financial services provider and the eighth-largest bank in North America by AUM.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) has operations globally and serves more than 10 million clients.
  • The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) is the third-largest Canadian bank with 25 million customers at home and abroad. 
  • TD Bank Group serves more than 26 million customers worldwide, with CAD$1.7 trillion in assets and more than 14 million active online and mobile customers.

National Bank of Canada

Headquartered in Montreal, the National Bank of Canada is Canada’s sixth-largest commercial bank. The bank has branches in nearly all of the Canadian provinces, and in 2020 had over 21,000 employees.  It also had several representative offices, subsidiaries, and partnerships internationally, serving both Canadian and non-Canadian clients. (The National Bank of Canada is separate from the Canadian central bank, the Bank of Canada.)

Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), along with its subsidiaries, operates as a diversified financial services company. RBC offers both personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services, capital markets products and services globally. As of the third quarter of 2020, RBC had 86,000 employees, more than 17 million clients and operated in 36 countries.

The Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) was established in 1817. Today BMO Financial Group is a diversified financial services provider with total assets under management (AUM) enough to make them the 8th largest bank in North America. BMO provides its more than 12 million customers with options in retail banking, wealth management, and investment banking products and services.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, and was formed in 1961 through the merger of the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada. This was then the largest merger between chartered banks in Canadian history. Along with its peers in the Bix Six Banks, CIBC has operations globally and serves more than 10 million clients with 45,000 employees. CIBC’s Institution Number (or bank number) is 010, and SWIFT code is CIBCCATT. 

The Bank of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) is the third largest bank in Canada. Scotiabank has more than 10 million customers in its home market and another 15 million worldwide. Many deem Scotiabank as one of the more international banks in Canada, given its presence throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, along with Europe and parts of Asia.

TD Bank Group

TD Bank Group (consisting of Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries) is broken down into three business lines: Canadian Retail, U.S. Retail, and Wholesale Banking. TD Bank Group serves more than 26 million customers worldwide, with CAD$1.7 trillion in assets as of July 2020. With over 14 million active online and mobile customers, TD also ranks among top online financial services firms.