Who knew there was even such a thing as Canadian royalty? The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) isn’t technically royalty, but it is one of the largest banks in the world. Ranked at number twenty-eight worldwide by Standard & Poor, this company has taken banking across the country of Canada.

Its CEO is David McKay, and the company has more than forty billion Canadian dollars per year in annual revenue. Its subsidiaries are City National Bank and the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

Big Five

The Royal Bank of Canada is one of the “Big Five” banks in Canada, the largest five banks that are dominant in the Canadian banking marketplace. Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), and Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) round out the other four in the top five. 

Like RBC, all of the other banks are based out of Toronto, Canada. These are Schedule I banks, which means they are operating under a charter from the government of Canada as domestic financial institutions. The banks can’t be owned by just one entity or person. In fact, no one can own more than a twenty percent stake in any of these banks. 

RBC was traditionally the largest of these banks, and for most of the history of banking it was the largest by a wide margin. That’s changed over the past two decades as Toronto-Dominion Bank has caught up and recently even surpassed RBC as the largest bank in Canada by asset value. This happened after TD merged with Canada Trust, which had been the long time largest Canadian trust organization. 

RBC is still the largest bank in Canada if you’re measuring by capitalization, number of branches, or annual revenue. The company has one hundred and thirty billion Canadian dollars in capitalization, thirty-eight billion Canadian dollars in annual revenue, and over one thousand three hundred branches. 

It’s Not Personal

 RBC has had its fair share of scandals in during its long history. 

The company has been repeatedly accused of supporting environmental problems by groups who say that their financing of oil sands companies facilitates is detrimental to the environment. RBC carries almost ten billion dollars in loans from almost a dozen oil companies. 

Discrimination is another area where RBC has had issues. It’s been accused of refusing to allow individuals with certain dual citizenships from opening bank accounts with U.S. dollars or even closing accounts of these individuals. These include Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar, and Sudan. The company says that this is in conjunction with the U.S. Department of the Treasury following the September 11th attacks. 

Numbers Game

When we talk about financial services in Canada and even beyond, RBC is a massive company. There are eighty thousand employees working for RBC. It has more than sixteen million clients. 

RBC was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Originally, it financed fishermen and lumber workers, as well as participating in the import and export business between Europe and the Caribbean. That legacy of work in the Caribbean is still alive today, as the company has one hundred and twenty-seven branches across the Caribbean. It also offers services to Canadians who live abroad.

RBC used to operate four hundred and forty odd branches in the Southeastern section of the United States, however those services were pulled back to only being offered for Canadians. In Canada, it operates as RBC Banque Royale in French and RBC Royal Bank in English.

In almost two hundred years of growth and development, RBC has continued to be a force not only in Canadian banking, but all over the world.