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What Canadians Think About Their Banks

Last modified: 30 June 2016

Fast facts

  • 84 per cent have a favourable impression of banks in Canada, significantly higher than other service providers.
  • 87 per cent give banks high marks for being stable and secure.
  • 79 per cent of Canadians get good value for their service fees.

The bottom line

Canadians have strong, positive feelings about their banks, driven by the belief that their banks are stable, secure and trustworthy, provide innovative services to make banking more convenient and that customers receive good value for their money1.  


 

Canadians trust and value their banks

Canadians look to their banks to safeguard their money, help finance a home or business, manage their savings and investments, and plan their retirement. Among the companies that consumers have relationships with, few are more personal and sensitive than the relationship with their bank.  

As Canadians have witnessed challenges in banking in other parts of the world, they appreciate the reliability, prudence and stability of Canada’s banks all the more.

Annual poll infographic

But no less important is satisfaction in the value that customers feel they get from their bank. Banks have worked hard to make banking more convenient – extending branch hours, introducing mobile banking and payments, and enhancing online banking – enabling banking literally around the clock and around the world. Canadians have noticed and value these improvements.  

Today:

  • 84 per cent have a favourable impression of banks in Canada, up from 59 per cent in 2001.
  • These approval ratings grow when it comes to their own bank: 93 per cent of respondents have a favourable impression of the bank they do most of their business with.
  • 80 per cent of Canadians trust banks to protect their privacy, up from 74 per cent in 2014.
  • 75 per cent give banks good marks for introducing technologies that improve the convenience of banking.
  • 77 per cent appreciate the banks’ safe and simple online banking solutions.
  • 70 per cent believe that banks are honest and trustworthy in their dealings with customers. 

Good choice, competition and value

Canadians benefit from plenty of competition and choice in the financial services marketplace.  

The domestic and foreign banks operating in Canada compete for customers’ business not only with each other, but also with a variety of other financial services providers, including trust companies, life insurance companies, finance companies, financial technology companies, credit unions and caisses populaires and an array of federal and provincial financial agencies. Canadians feel they enjoy ample choice in the availability of banking services and see healthy competition among banks for their business. With more than 40 banks in Canada offering products and services to retail customers, research has found that 88 per cent think there is enough choice in banking.

Consumers know that they are in control and can shop around for the banking arrangements that best meets their needs and at a cost that they are comfortable with.

  • 17 per cent of Canadians have switched financial institutions in the past three years, and 79 per cent of those said it was easy to do.  
  • 30 per cent of Canadians pay no banking service fees at all because they take advantage of no-fee packages for seniors, students, youth and newcomers to Canada, maintain a minimum monthly account balance or choose a no-fee electronic banking package.  Another 45 per cent pay $15 or less per month to do their banking.

Value in money for service fees

79 per cent say that they get good value from their banking service fees, which is more than 10 percentage points higher than other service industries. 

Q: When you think about the fees you pay for the service you receive, please tell me if you feel you get excellent, good, poor, or very poor value in each of the following areas:

Service impressions chart

A stable and successful banking system is important to Canadians

Canadians have strong, positive feelings about their banks, driven by the belief that they receive value for money and that strong banks are good for the economy and can help Canadians meet their financial goals.

  • When asked to rate the performance of banks in Canada on stability and security, 87 per cent Canadians provided a favourable rating.
  • The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada’s banks the strongest in the world for eight consecutive years2.

Canadians know that stability in our banking system is linked to profitability.  Companies that are healthy pay more taxes, hire more people, return better dividends to pension plans and other investors, and buy more goods and services from other Canadians.  Bank profitability also enables lending that helps spur economic growth.

  • Six-in-ten Canadians (59 per cent) say that profitable banks mean more jobs, better pension plan returns and a healthier economy.

All data from public opinion research conducted on behalf of the Canadian Bankers Association by Abacus Data.