Oldest Banks in Canada

9 Oldest Banks in Canada

Canada has a rich financial history marked by the establishment of several venerable institutions that have withstood the test of time. These banks serve as pillars of the Canadian economy and represent enduring symbols of trust and stability. 

Join us as we explore the top 10 oldest banks in Canada, each with its unique legacy and contributions to the country’s financial landscape.

9. HSBC Bank Canada

Year Founded: 1981 (as HSBC Bank Canada)

HSBC Bank CanadaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

HSBC Bank Canada is part of the global HSBC Group and has operated in Canada since 1981. While relatively younger compared to some of the older Canadian banks, HSBC Bank Canada has established itself as a significant player in the country’s financial landscape.

Did You Know?

HSBC Bank Canada traces its lineage to the Hong Kong Bank of Canada, which was founded in 1981 after acquiring the assets of the Bank of British Columbia. The bank’s international connections through the HSBC Group provide a global perspective on financial services.

8. Tangerine Bank (formerly ING Direct Canada)

Year Founded: 1997 (as ING Direct Canada)

Tangerine Bank (formerly ING Direct Canada)Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tangerine Bank, originally known as ING Direct Canada when it started in 1997, rebranded to Tangerine in 2014 after its acquisition by Scotiabank. Despite being one of the newer players in Canada’s banking sector, Tangerine Bank has made a mark by offering innovative online banking solutions.

Did You Know?

ING Direct Canada revolutionized the banking industry by offering no-fee, online-only banking services, attracting a significant customer base. Tangerine Bank emphasizes user-friendly digital banking experiences while retaining a customer-centric approach.

7. Desjardins Group

Year Founded: 1900 (Oldest caisses populaires date back to 1900)

Desjardins GroupPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Desjardins Group was founded in 1900 in Quebec by Alphonse Desjardins. It originated as a network of caisses populaires (credit unions) aimed at serving the financial needs of communities and cooperatives. Over time, it has grown into one of the largest cooperative financial groups in the world.

Did You Know?

Desjardins Group has expanded its services to encompass banking, insurance, wealth management, and other financial products, serving both individuals and businesses. The cooperative model of Desjardins emphasizes community involvement and member-driven decision-making.

6. CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)

Year Founded: 1867

CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was established in Toronto in 1867. It has a legacy rooted in supporting Canada’s economic development. CIBC has diversified its services to encompass retail banking, wealth management, and corporate banking, catering to a broad spectrum of clients.

Did You Know?

CIBC played a key role in financing Western Canada’s agricultural and resource sectors during their early stages of growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Commerce Court in Toronto is the bank’s iconic headquarters, which was once the tallest building in the British Commonwealth.

5. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Year Founded: 1864

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Bank of Canada was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1864. It has become one of Canada’s largest and most prominent financial institutions. RBC offers various banking and financial services, catering to millions of clients globally. Mergers, acquisitions, and a commitment to innovation in the banking sector have marked its expansion over the years.

Did You Know?

RBC played a significant role in developing Canada’s transportation infrastructure, including financing the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century. The bank’s headquarters in Toronto is a prominent landmark in the city’s financial district.

4. National Bank of Canada

Year Founded: 1859

National Bank of CanadaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The National Bank of Canada was founded in 1859 in Quebec City. It has established itself as a key player in Quebec’s financial sector. While primarily operating in Quebec, the bank has expanded its services across Canada, offering various financial products and services.

Did You Know?

The bank has a strong focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and has developed specialized services tailored to their needs. National Bank’s head office in Montreal is known for its distinctive architecture and presence in the city’s skyline.

3. Laurentian Bank of Canada

Year Founded: 1846

Laurentian Bank of CanadaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Established in Montreal in 1846, the Laurentian Bank of Canada has maintained a focus on personal and commercial banking services. While smaller in size compared to some of its counterparts, the bank has a strong regional presence and a commitment to serving local communities.

Did You Know?

Laurentian Bank has embraced technological advancements, offering digital banking solutions while retaining a personalized approach to customer service. The bank’s historical roots are deeply connected to Montreal’s business and cultural heritage.

2. Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)

Year Founded: 1832

Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia)Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Scotiabank was established in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1832. It has a long-standing history of providing banking services across Canada and internationally. The bank’s strategic expansions and acquisitions have contributed to its global presence, with operations in various countries throughout the Americas and beyond.

Did You Know?

Scotiabank was the first Canadian bank to open a branch in Mexico City in 1889, marking its initial foray into international markets. The bank’s original head office in Halifax, known as the Historic Properties, is a popular heritage site today.

1. Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Year Founded: 1817

Bank of Montreal (BMO)Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817 and is the oldest bank in Canada and one of the oldest in North America. Initially established to support commerce and trade in the rapidly growing city of Montreal, BMO has evolved into a multinational financial institution with a global presence. Over the years, it has been pivotal in financing major infrastructure projects and supporting businesses across various sectors.

Did You Know?

BMO was the first Canadian bank to establish branches in the United States, establishing operations in New York in 1818. The bank’s iconic head office in Montreal is a designated National Historic Site of Canada.


The oldest banks in Canada have played instrumental roles in shaping the country’s financial landscape, contributing to economic growth, supporting communities, and adapting to changing market dynamics. Their legacies endure as testaments to longevity, resilience, and the ability to evolve with the times while upholding the trust and confidence of their customers. 

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