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Canada - Banking
The largest and most dominant banks in the Canadian banking industry are known as the Big Five. These are the Royal Bank of Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. These are among the 20 strongest $100-billion-asset banks in the world. Other large banks include the National Bank of Canada, HSBC Bank Canada, the Laurentian Bank of Canada, the Churchill Investments Group, Canadian Western Bank and ATB Financial.
The HSBC is the seventh largest bank in Canada, and offers services tailored to expats. HSBC Expat has won the Forum for Expatriate Management Award for ‘Best Expatriate Banking Service of the Year’ for the past four years, and offers a flexible current account for expats with a choice of currencies and cards (www.expat.hsbc.com). HSBC Canada also allows you the convenient option of opening an account while still in the UK. The Bank of Montreal, the CIBC and the Royal Bank of Canada also allow you to open an account before your arrival in Canada, but only allow the account to be activated once you get to Canada. You do not have to be a permanent resident to open one of these accounts.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca) features the Account Selector Tool on its website, which enables users to compare features of different bank accounts, their interest rates, fees and services and choose the best fit for them.
The two main types of account available in Canadian banks are chequing accounts (current accounts) and savings accounts. Chequing accounts generally have low interest fees but low monthly fees and a debit card attached to the account, while savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates and may limit the amount of withdrawals allowed per month. Chequing accounts are more efficient for day-to-day banking. In order to open an account you will normally need to bring identification such as photo ID, your Social Security Number and a temporary or permanent resident permit. You may be asked to bring other documentation such as a working permit or proof of address, depending on the bank, however it is not necessary to be in employment in order to open an account. There is also no charge to open an account. Eligibility for overdrafts and loans will usually depend on your credit history and your capability of paying off the debt. Some banks will accept a credit report from your home country.
Bank opening hours are usually from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and most do not close for lunch, although in rural areas banks may have part-time opening hours. Many banks close on statutory holidays, although internet banking allows you to perform many operations remotely at any time of the day and year.
Tel: 1 888 310 4722
123 Front St W
Tel: 416 947 5500
Bank of Montreal
Tel: 1 877 225 5266
Tel: 1 800 267 1234
Royal Bank of Canada
Tel: 1 800 769 2511
TD Canada Trust
Tel: 1 866 222 3456
National Bank of Canada
Tel: 514 394 5555
Canadian Western Bank Group
Tel: 1 800 663 1124
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