Credit unions rated best by small business

Among Big 5 Banks, Scotiabank tops Canadian list, BMO tops rankings in BC

Toronto/Vancouver, October 20, 2016 – Credit unions continue to be the top performers when it comes to serving small businesses’ overall financial needs, according to the latest report from the Canadian Federation of Independence Business (CFIB).

In the national rankings, Scotiabank received the top score among the “Big 5” banks, with Bank of Montreal (BMO) and TD Canada Trust receiving the lowest score. In BC, the highest rated Big 5 bank was BMO, while Canada Trust and HSBC were at the bottom.

Institution National Score BC Score
Credit Union 7.2 8.2
ATB Financial 5.5 -
Scotiabank 4.8 3.6
National Bank 4.7 -
CIBC 4.7 4.9
Royal Bank (RBC) 4.4 3.1
Bank of Montreal (BMO) 4.3 6.7
TD Canada Trust 4.3 2.7
Desjardins 4.3 -
HSBC 3.0 2.6


“Access to affordable financing and banking services is essential for small business owners from start-up to success,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “We were encouraged to see that some of the big banks have made positive changes since our previous report, but it’s clear several have a long way to go to match the overall customer satisfaction small business owners have with credit unions. We challenge all banks to commit to bettering their small business financing and service offerings.”

The report Battle of the Banks is based on a survey of over 11,400 small business owners conducted from September to December 2015 and focused on four key areas: financing, fees, account manager experience and service. The responses reflect the views of SMEs located in all regions and sectors throughout Canada and are considered accurate within plus/minus 0.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

National Results:

Nationally, credit unions were rated the best institutions in all four categories. HSBC fared the worst in account manager and service, TD Canada Trust was at the bottom in financing, and RBC scored last in fees.

ATB Financial (an Alberta-only bank) saw the biggest increase in ranking from the 2013 report, jumping from last to second place overall. National Bank and CIBC also rose in the ranks since the 2013 report. Bank of Montreal saw the sharpest decline, falling from second to tied for seventh. Desjardins joined BMO and TD Canada Trust near the bottom, with HSBC in last place.

BC Results:

In BC, credit unions were also ranked first overall, but received even higher marks. BMO received the top mark among the Big 5 banks, with TD Canada Trust and HSBC the lowest.

Credit unions were rated the best institutions in all categories except financing, which had BMO ranked first. TD Canada Trust fared the worst in account manager and financing, RBC was at the bottom in terms of fees, and HSBC scored last in service.


Our Battle of the Banks report continues to show a disturbing trend - the smaller the business, the lower the overall bank score. Compared to larger businesses, smaller firms are still having a difficult time securing the financing they need from their bank at affordable terms. That needs to change,” concluded Richard Truscott, Vice-President, BC and Alberta.

As with previous banking reports, CFIB uses these data in meetings with bank CEOs and governments to encourage all parties to better support Canada’s small business community. All three installments of CFIB’s 2016 banking report series, including the Battle of the Banks report, can be found at Battle of the Banks.

To arrange an interview with Dan Kelly, please contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or To speak with Richard Truscott, please call 604-684-5325.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in BC.