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In Canada banks are referred to as tier 1 and tier 2. What are the differences between them? What services are they allowed to offer and not offer? Are all covered by the CDIC?

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The "Tier 1" banks in Canada are much like the "Original Six" for the NHL - they were created a long, long time ago, and the definition will (probably) never change :)

Specifically, they are:

  1. Royal Bank (RBC)
  2. Toronto-Dominon (TD)
  3. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)
  4. Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

"Tier 2" is everyone else There are some more well-known ones like ING, National Bank, and HSBC.

They are all covered by the CDIC (except for credit unions / caisses populaires). For some reason the fin.gc.ca site is down right now so I'll update this post more tomorrow.

[Update]: Wow they are having issues; search page is completely broken now.

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  • You only listed five. :)
    – Ether
    Aug 14, 2010 at 15:22
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    The original six are NHL teams, not banks. I think the point is that for many folks, these are the only teams that matter. Aug 29, 2010 at 14:34
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    By analogy with the NHL 'original six' I presume that means the Tier 1 banks are old and venerable, but that there is no actual legal difference between them and the Tier 2 banks. Is that right? Jul 3, 2011 at 5:44
  • @DJClayworth that's correct.
    – Jedidja
    Jul 4, 2011 at 18:28

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