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What are the Largest Banks in Canada?

Written by Jessica Steer
Reviewed by Janessa Ellis
In Canada, there are plenty of banks and financial institutions to choose from. Even with all of those different banks, there are a few banks that are a bit bigger than the rest. These are the 5 largest banks in Canada, and many of them are the parent banks of some of the smaller financial institutions and best online banks in Canada.
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    You may be wondering which banks are considered to be the largest in Canada, but they’re probably banks that you’ve already heard of RBC, TD, CIBC, BMO and Scotiabank. Not only are they the largest banks in Canada, but they’re also some of the most popular. 

    The Number of Banks in Canada

    In Canada, there are quite a few different types of financial institutions in the banking sector. There are Schedule 1 banks, Schedule 2 banks, Schedule 3 banks, credit unions, and online-only banks. In total, there are about 34 different domestic banks in Canada, 2 federally regulated credit unions and around 43 smaller subsidiaries of foreign banks and foreign bank branches. 

    Even though there are only a few federally regulated credit unions, there are actually over 208 credit unions in total in Canada. There are even a few Caisse Populaires, which are similar to credit unions and are based in Quebec and other parts of eastern Canada.  

    Banks in Canada by Asset Size

    When we refer to the largest banks in Canada, we often refer to the big 5, but did you know that there are actually 6? National Bank is considered to be number 6, but it doesn’t operate in all of Canada as the other large Canadian banks do. That said, it does operate in many Canadian provinces and is headquartered in Montreal. 

    The reason that these banks are considered the largest Canadian banks is because of the size of their assets. Let’s look at all 6 and see which order they’re ranked. 

    Royal Bank of Canada

    The largest bank in Canada based on assets is the Royal Bank of Canada. Actually, RBC also recently took over TD, which holds the 2nd spot among the largest banks in Canada. 

    As of the third quarter of 2023, RBC held $1.957 trillion in assets under management. They have over 17 million customers throughout their 1,300 branches. They even employ over 97,000 people. 

    Unlike some other banks in Canada, RBC has been around for quite a while. It was initially created in 1864 and is known as the Merchants Bank of Halifax. Over the years, it expanded and became the Royal Bank of Canada.

    TD Canada Trust

    TD, also known as Toronto-Dominion Bank, is the second largest bank in Canada based on assets. Their assets under management were at around CAD 1.9 trillion as of July 2023. They serve over 22 million Canadians. 

    TD is known for its long opening hours and personal service. They also offer plenty of online banking options as well. They understand the fact that traditional banking hours don’t work for everyone and are available late in the evenings and on weekends. 

    Even though TD hasn’t been around as long as some of the other large banks, they’ve actually been around since 1955. This is when the Bank of Toronto and Dominion Bank merged and created the TD Bank Financial Group. So even though TD Bank Group was only established in 1955, the banks that created it have been around much longer. 

    Bank of Nova Scotia

    The third largest bank in Canada is The Bank of Nova Scotia, also known as Scotiabank. It was founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It became incorporated in March of that year. Now, Scotiabank is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario.

    As of October 31, 2023, the total assets under management for this bank sat at CAD 1.4 trillion. They have over 2,400 branches and have over 90,000 employees that work full time. 

    Bank of Montreal

    The Bank of Montreal, also known as BMO, is the oldest incorporated bank in Canada and has been around since 1817. It was actually used as Canada's central bank until the Bank of Canada was founded in 1935. Now, the Bank of Montreal is referred to as BMO Financial Group. 

    As of July 31, 2023, BMO’s assets under management are CAD 935.543 billion. The assets from 2022 were CAD 884.93 billion. From 2022 to 2023, this is a 12,6% increase, which has been the steady year-to-year increase for this bank. Their net income for 2023 was 1,717 million. Even though BMO is the oldest incorporated bank in Canada, it’s actually the fourth largest bank in Canada based on asset size.

    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

    Another large bank in Canada is CIBC, also known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. It’s been around since 1867 and was initially founded in Toronto. It’s still headquartered there to this day. 

    As of the end of 2022, CIBC had over 13 million clients and held over $944 billion in assets under management. While that isn’t anywhere near TD and RBC, it’s still quite a lot compared to other financial institutions in Canada. In the second quarter of 2023, their gross revenue was over CAD 5.7 billion. This makes CIBC Canada’s fifth-largest bank.

    National Bank

    The National Bank of Canada is the sixth largest bank in Canada. They’re based out of Montreal and have different branches in Canada. They help over 2.4 million clients and, as of 2023, had CAD 120.9 billion in assets under management and $423.6 billion in assets. This bank has been around since 1979 and has over 28,000 employees. 

    Banking With Canada’s Largest Banks: Advantages and Disadvantages

    No matter which financial institution you choose to bank with, there are plenty of different advantages and disadvantages. With so many banks in Canada to choose from, it can take time to decide who you want to bank with. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of going with one of the largest banks in Canada. 


    When you’re considering who you want to bank with, there are plenty of advantages to considering one of the largest banks in Canada. Because they’re larger, they have access to a broader range of products and services. Their size also allows them to have more branches and ATMs than smaller financial institutions. 

    When banking with one of the larger Canadian banks, accessing funds while travelling abroad is easier because these are international banks as well. You can hold accounts in Canadian dollars as well as other currencies. They can afford to offer lower interest rates than smaller institutions, and they can offer more assistance with 24/7 support. 

    These are just some of the reasons why many people choose to bank with Canada’s largest banks. That said, though, there are some things that these banks can’t offer that smaller financial institutions can. 


    Unlike smaller financial institutions, these larger banks have a more standardized approach to banking with their customers. Smaller banks typically focus more on individual needs and can create custom banking strategies for their customers. Larger banks are also less community-focused than smaller banks just because they have so many locations and customers. 

    Larger banks also tend to have longer application processes than those of smaller, more independent locations. They also have strict requirements and offer less flexibility to their customers. They also tend to have more fees with higher charges. 

    Top 10 Banks in Canada and Other Popular Banks

    While we have gone over the top 6 banks in Canada, other large banks fall within the top 10. These banks aren’t as large as the top 6. Still, they’re quite popular and offer a variety of financial services to Canadians, including business banking, corporate banking, chequing accounts, savings accounts, wealth management and investment banking. These are:

    • HSBC Bank of Canada
    • Laurentian Bank of Canada
    • Canadian Western Bank
    • Desjardins Group

    There’s also Citi Bank, which is the largest foreign bank in Canada. 

    Best Online Banks in Canada

    Some other banks in Canada are strictly online. These are considered to be the best online banks in Canada.

    • EQ Bank, a division of Equitable Bank
    • Simplii Financial 
    • Tangerine Bank
    • Motus Bank
    • KOHO
    • Neo Financial
    • PC Financial
    • Alternabank
    • Outlook Financial
    • Achieva Financial
    • Motive Financial
    • MAXA Financial

    While these banks are different from those institutions that you can walk into, online banks still have plenty to offer. Many of these offer unlimited free transactions on everyday banking, chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, investment opportunities, wealth management or other banking opportunities. These can all be done through online banking. 

    They typically offer lower fees and have some flexibility in their bank accounts. That said, they are also a lot smaller, so they may not offer as wide of a range of services as the larger financial institutions can. 

    Final Thoughts

    In Canada, there are plenty of different financial institutions to choose from for your personal banking as well as business banking. Each one of these institutions has different features that make them unique. Even the largest financial institutions in Canada have different features and services that differentiate them from the others. They all offer different fees and services. Which institution you choose to bank with depends on your specific needs and which bank can meet them. 

    The 5 largest banks all have different market capitalization, total assets, monthly fees and different services that they offer. The number one bank in Canada for total assets is RBC, but it actually isn’t even the oldest bank in Canada; BMO is. That said, with each bank having assets in the billions, we can see that many Canadians trust them for their everyday banking needs.

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