Over the last two decades, we have seen a major decline in the number of branches and locations for banks and credit unions. In 1990, there were almost 8,000 branches (7,964) and, by 2002, the number had fallen to 5,908, a decline of 26%.
The Canadian Bankers’ Association reports that, between 2006 and 2012, there was a small increase in the number of bank branches in Canada: from 5,902 to 6,205. But since 1990, there has been a decline of more than 1,700 branches, a 22% drop, and the number of branches increased by only 5.1% from 2002 to 2012, with most of the new branches added in Ontario (195), Alberta (98), and British Columbia (37).
In many communities today, credit unions or caisses populaires are the only financial institution. In 2012, the Credit Union Central of Canada reported that credit unions were the only financial institution in 380 communities. The Desjar- dins Group noted in 2013 that caisses populaires are the only financial institution in 388 towns and villages in Quebec. But the total number of credit union and caisse locations has also dropped from 3,603 in 2002 to 3,117 in 2012, a decline of 13.5%.
In 2010, a study by Vision Critical (commissioned by ING Direct bank before it was taken over by the Bank of Nova Scotia) found that banking fees in Canada were among the highest in the world. More than half of Canadians (55%) have fee-based chequing accounts and, on average, pay $185 per year in fees for these accounts. Credit card rates remain high in spite of low Bank of Canada prime rates. Typical bank card interest rate hover around 20% annually and department store cards are closer to 30%.
Great summary of investment performance - monthly, quarter, Year to date and 1-year stats. Updated performance data: stocks, bonds, mixed portfolios, etc.
- Canadian real GDP increased by 0.6% in July, more than recouping the 0.5% decline seen the month prior. Gains were broad-based across the goods-producing (+1.2%) and services (+0.3%) sectors.
- Local real estate boards have begun to release September housing data, and the numbers issued thus far are all of double digit magnitude. Toronto (+30%), Calgary (+19%) and Vancouver (+64%) have reported solid year-over-year sales increases.
- In a speech earlier this week, Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, focused on the prospects for Canada’s exports. This segment of the economy accounts for one-third of Canada’s national income, but prevailing global economic uncertainty will likely mean a delay in the rotation of growth drivers in Canada from consumers and governments towards exports and investment.
- The Ivey PMI edged higher to 51.9 in September following what was a modest recovery in August. The reading is consistent with an economic rough patch over the past few months.