Banking on better service

June 15, 2010
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June 1, 2010 - In April, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released a report revealing that CIBC is far and away the worst bank when it comes to servicing Canada’s smallest businesses. Based on survey results from over 12,000 business owners across the country, Banking on Better Service evaluates banks and other lending institutions based on the views of their actual clients.

In its assessment of Canadian banks’ small business-related financing, fees and service, CFIB’s report contains three separate ratings based on business size: micro (0 to 4 employees); small (5 to 49 employees); and mid size (50 to 499 employees). While CIBC rated first in the mid size category, they rated last by significant margins in both the micro and small categories. On the opposite end of the scale, credit unions not only dominated the micro business category, but they also led the way in the small category. HSBC had a strong showing across the board.  

“When you consider that micro size businesses alone account for over three-quarters of the businesses in Canada, you would think that it would be in a bank’s best interest to serve them well, especially considering their role in job creation and economic growth,” reasoned CFIB president, Catherine Swift. “Unfortunately, some banks – CIBC in particular – appear to have missed a real opportunity here. In fact, this may help explain CIBC’s drop in total market share in the small business segment.”

In addition to the ratings, CFIB’s report tracks each bank’s change in the small business market share over the past 20 years. While RBC and National Bank have lost a quarter of their small business market share, CIBC has experienced a contraction of almost half. Scotiabank and Credit Unions, on the other hand, have almost doubled their market share.

“These data demonstrate why certain banks are fairing so poorly in their treatment of smaller size business clients,” noted CFIB director of research, Doug Bruce. “If they’re serious about becoming the bank of choice for small businesses, embracing the findings contained within this report will help them gain a competitive edge,” he explained. 

To see the CFIB's full report, click here.

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