Banking in Quebec

Early Canadian Banks:

Bank of Montreal (1817)
Quebec Bank (1818)
Bank of Canada (1934)

Gorton & Huang (2002) tell about the progression from the 19 to 20th centuries, a hundred years during which the Canadian and U.S. banking systems differed significantly. Canada’s bank count was at forty, while there were thousands of American financial institutions. Coalitions and dense branching strengthen banks; perhaps, the reason why less banks failed in the North over that period of time.
Overall, banking in Canada stabilized in the 1830s and has remained unwavering since then (knock on wood!). The Canadian Bankers’ Association was established in 1891 (Calomiris & Gorton, 1990). The Institute of Canadian Bankers offers certifications in mutual funds and related knowledge areas. The BMO Institute for Learning is a large conference centre in Toronto.

Able to afford it, banks are often sponsors of progress and social phenomena. BMO played a significant role in the furthering the medical profession. The Bank of Canada is now the country’s central bank. Paramount cinemas in Montreal, as well as, one assumes, the surrounding building, shopping mall and impressive underground tunnels, have been acquired by Scotiabank. The fact is just one example of how commercial banks intertwine with our lives.

Insurance companies are a related industry. Quebec banks, in no particular order, include:

  • BMO (Bank of Montreal) - TSX, NYSE: BMO
  • HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation 香港上海汇丰银行有限公司) - NYSE: HBC
  • Laurentian Bank - TSX: LB
  • Scotiabank - BNS
  • TD (Toronto Dominion Financial Group) - TD
  • RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) - RY
  • CIBC (Canadian Imperial Banking Corporation) - CM
  • Caisses Desjardins
  • National Bank

A more detailed look at a few selected banks for Canada, 2010:

►CIBC (taken from CIBC Website):

  • 42,000 employees
  • 1100 branches
  • 4000 ATMs
  • net income $2,500,000,000 ⇒ per share diluted $5.87

►BMO (most data found on the BMO Website)

  • 40,000 employees
  • 1000+ branches
  • $400,000,000,000 in total assets; $560,000,000 in 1921
  • Highly diversified financial services (3 operating groups):

                        ♦ Personal and Commercial Banking: Everyday banking for individuals and enterprises

                        ♦ Private Client Group:

  • Private banking
  • Brokerage
  • Insurance
  • Investments

♦BMO Capital Markets:

  • Equity and debt underwriting and research
  • Corporate lending and project financing
  • Mergers and acquisitions consulting
  • Merchant banking
  • Securitization
  • Treasury and market risk management
  • Derivatives
  • Institutional sales and trading
  • Foreign exchange

BMO is sophisticatedly diverse in its commercial activity. The term underwriting stands for the decision making process faced by banks and other financial institutions in evaluating a potential borrower or client eligibility. CIBC has also been documented as an excellent employer, and as implementing the knowledge management (KM) approach (Allee, 1997). Alternatively, Desjardins is a cooperative that had five million participants and 72 billion dollars in assets in 2000 (Roy & Aubret, 2000).

Thus, the above should give a pretty clear first glance of the Quebec banking industry. Still, the world is immense and short of issuing a Quebec Globe, one might as well follow up on international current events and historical milestones dann und wann (now and then in German).

Therefore, in conclusion, some worldly developments…: HSBC (汇丰银行) was founded in Hong Kong in 1865 (Jao, 2003).  Other related economic occurrences were the establishment of the Commercial Bank of China (中国工商银行 1897), opening of the stock exchange of Hong Kong (香港 1891) and of Shanghai (上海 1904). HSBC is a multinational corporation; it does business in more than one sovereign state.

A similar cross-border prodigy is the Citibank, previously known as City Bank of New York and First National Bank of New York.


  • Allee, V. (1997). 12 principles of knowledge management. Training & Development, 51: 71-74.
  • Bank of Montreal Website: Retrieved on February 25, 2011.
  • Calomiris, C. W. & Gorton, G. (1990). The origins of banking panics: Models, facts and bank regulation. National Bureau of Economic Research’s Conference on Financial Crises: Biscayne, Florida.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada Website: Retrieved on February 25, 2011.
  • Gorton, G. & Huang, L. (2002). Bank panics and the endogeneity of central banking. Journal of Monetary Economics, 53 (7): 1613-1629.
  • Jao, Y. C. (2003). Shanghai and Hong Kong as international financial centres: Historical perspective and contemporary analysis. Working paper issue 1071: Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy.
  • Roy, V. & Aubert, B. (2000). A resource based view of the information systems sourcing mode. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual International Hawaiian Conference on System Sciences, 4-7 Jan: 1-10.

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