Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC; French: Banque Royale du Canada) is a Canadian multinational financial services company and the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization. The bank serves over 16 million clients and has 80,000 employees worldwide.[4] The bank was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, although its head office is located in Montreal, Quebec, and its corporate headquarters in Toronto, Ontario.[2][4] RBC's institution number (or bank number) is 003. In November 2017, RBC was added to the Financial Stability Board's list of global systemically important banks.

  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Banque Royale du Canada
Traded as
IndustryFinancial services
FoundedHalifax, Nova Scotia
1864 (1864)[1]
HeadquartersMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[2]
Key people
David I. McKay (President & CEO)
ServicesRetail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, wealth management, credit cards, finance and insurance
Revenue CA$40.66 billion (2017)
CA$8.35 billion (2017)
AUM CA$660.9 billion (2018)
Total assets CA$1.27 trillion (2018)[3]
Number of employees
79,308 (FTE, 2018)

In Canada, the bank's personal and commercial banking operations are branded as RBC Royal Bank in English and RBC Banque Royale in French and serves approximately ten million clients through its network of 1,209 branches. RBC Bank is the U.S. banking subsidiary which formerly operated 439 branches across six states in the Southeastern United States,[5] but now only offers cross-border banking services to Canadian travellers and expats. RBC also has 127 branches across seventeen countries in the Caribbean, which serve more than 16 million clients.[6] RBC Capital Markets is RBC's worldwide investment and corporate banking subsidiary, while the investment brokerage firm is known as RBC Dominion Securities. Investment banking services are also provided through RBC Bank and the focus is on middle market clients.

In 2011, RBC was the largest Canadian company by revenue and market capitalization.[7] and was ranked at No. 50 in the 2013 Forbes Global 2000 listing,[8] The company has operations in Canada, and 40 other countries[9] and had US$673.2 billion of assets under management in 2014.[10]


In 1864, the Merchants Bank of Halifax was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a commercial bank that financed the fishing and timber industries and the European and Caribbean import/export businesses.[11] By 1869 the Merchants' Bank was officially incorporated and received its federal charter in the same year.[12] During the 1870s and 1880s, the bank expanded into the other Maritime Provinces. When both the Newfoundland Commercial Bank and Union Bank of Newfoundland collapsed on 10 December 1894, the Merchants Bank expanded to Newfoundland on 31 January 1895.[12]

As the bank grew, executives changed its name to reflect its growth and western expansion.[11] In 1901, the Merchants Bank of Halifax changed its name to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). The centre of the Canadian financial industry had moved from Halifax to Montreal, so the Merchants Bank relocated its head office there. In 1910, RBC merged with the Union Bank of Halifax. In the same year it built a bank branch in Winnipeg, Manitoba—designed by Carrère and Hastings, in beaux-arts classicism proclaiming the financial dominance of Winnipeg in the prairies.[13] To improve its position in Ontario, RBC merged with Traders Bank of Canada in 1912 and in 1917 RBC merged with Quebec Bank, which was founded in 1818 and chartered in 1822 in Quebec City.

RBC's presence in Manitoba and Saskatchewan was strengthened through a 1918 merger with Northern Crown Bank, which was the result of the merger in 1908 between Northern Bank (established in 1905 in Winnipeg) and Crown Bank of Canada (1904), based in Ontario. RBC's presence in the Prairie Provinces grew again with the 1925 merger with the Union Bank of Canada, which had begun in Quebec City in 1865 as the Union Bank of Lower Canada, but changed its name in 1886. The Union Bank of Canada had moved its headquarters to Winnipeg in 1912, and had built a strong presence in the Prairies and opened the first bank in the Northwest Territories at Fort Smith in 1921.[14][15]

In 1935, RBC merged with Crown Savings and Loan Co. merged with Industrial Mortgage & Trust Co.[16]

RBC installed its first computer in 1961, the first in Canadian banking. In the 1960s, RBC Insurance was created.[11] In 1968, it merged with Ontario Loan and Debenture Company (formerly Ontario Savings and Investment Society).[17] RBC Insurance is the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organization, with services to over five million people. It provides life, health, travel, home and auto and reinsurance products as well as creditor and business insurance services.[11] In 1993, RBC merged with Royal Trust.

In 1998, RBC acquired Security First Network Bank in Atlanta—the first pure Internet bank.[18] In the same year, the Royal Bank of Canada proposed to merge with the Bank of Montreal, at the same time as the Toronto-Dominion Bank proposed to merge with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Both mergers were examined by the Competition Bureau of Canada, and ultimately rejected by Paul Martin, at the time the Finance Minister of Canada, and future Prime Minister.

In 2000, RBC merged merchant credit/debit card acquiring business with BMO Bank of Montreal's to form Moneris Solutions. In 2013, RBC completed the acquisition of the Canadian subsidiary of Ally Financial.[19]

In 2007, RBC was recognized as the Top Most 100 powerful brands in the world. Was recognized as the "most respected corporation" in Canada[20] In October 2008, RBC was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, RBC was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[21] According to a global Newsweek ranking, which measures how effectively companies manage environmental risks and opportunities relative to their industry peers, Royal Bank of Canada is the most environmentally friendly company in the world.[22]

An RBC branch in The Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa was firebombed in May 2010. The party responsible later identified themselves on Indymedia and threatened to make their presence at the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as RBC was one of its key sponsors, as well as at the 2010 G20 Toronto summit.[23]

International expansion

  • 1882 – Merchants Bank of Halifax opened an office in Bermuda.
  • 1899 – RBC opened an agency in New York City and a branch in Havana.
  • 1903 – RBC bought Banco de Oriente de Santiago de Cuba. By the mid-1920s, RBC had 65 branches in Cuba and is the largest bank in the country.
  • 1904 – RBC bought Banco del Commercio de Havana.
  • 1907 – RBC opened a branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico; branches in Mayagüez and Ponce followed.
  • 1909 – RBC established a branch in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • 1910 – RBC opened a branch in London and acquired branches in Puerto Rico and Port of Spain, Trinidad as a result of its acquisition of Union Bank of Halifax.
RBC opened a branch in the Dominican Republic; three more follow.
  • 1913 – RBC opened a branch in Grenada.
  • 1914 – RBC bought out Bank of British Guiana (est. 1836), in British Guiana, and converted it to a branch.
  • 1915 – RBC opened branches in Costa Rica, Antigua, Dominica, and St. Kitts.
  • 1916 – RBC opened a branch in Venezuela.
  • 1917 – RBC opened branches in Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Nevis, and Tobago.
  • 1918 – RBC opened a branch in Barcelona, and another in Vladivostok that lasted less than a year.
  • 1919 – RBC opened branches in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paris, Martinique, Guadaloupe, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
  • 1920 – RBC opened a branch in Colombia and a branch in Castries, St Lucia.
  • 1923 – RBC bought and consolidated the banking operations of Pedro Gomez Mena e Hijo in Cuba.
  • 1925 – RBC opened a branch in Peru, and acquired the American-owned, and failed, Bank of Central and South America. The purchase of BCSA brought with it subsidiaries, and their branches, in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Venezuela
  • 1932 – RBC closed its branch in St. Lucia.
  • 1940 – RBC closed its branches in Martinique and Guadaloupe.
  • 1959 – RBC opened a branch in St. Vincent.
  • 1960 – RBC returned to St. Lucia.
  • 1960 – Fidel Castro's regime acquired the RBC's operations in Cuba on 8 December.[12] At the time of the forced sale, RBC had 24 branches in Cuba. From 1961 to 1965, RBC maintained a Special Representative in Havana to facilitate trade between Cuba and Canada. Actually, the Special Representative's primary function after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 was to act as a financial intermediary between the American and Cuban governments to manage the ransoming of the prisoners for food and agricultural machinery.
  • 1964 – RBC opened a branch in George Town, Grand Cayman.
  • 1970s – As a result of Law 75, RBC's operations in Colombia became Banco Royal Colombiano.
  • 1973 – RBC was forced to incorporate its operations in Jamaica, which became Royal Bank (Jamaica).
  • 1980 – RBC purchased Banco de San Juan in Puerto Rico, adding its 14 branches to the six that RBC already had in Puerto Rico. :RBC sold to Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, its assets in Grenada.
  • 1985 – RBC started to withdraw from much of the Caribbean.
It sold its 12 branches in the Dominican Republic to Banco de Comercio Dominicano.
It also sold its stake in Royal Bank (Jamaica) to Jamaica Mutual Life Assurance. Branches in Curacoa, Aruba, St. Maarten and Dominica are still open (1985- present)
The Government of Guyana nationalized its operations there and renamed the bank the National Bank of Industry and Commerce Ltd.[24][25]
Additionally RBC incorporated its operations in Trinidad and Tobago locally, floating the shares, thereby divesting itself of ownership. The new bank took the name Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT).
  • 2000 – Acquired Dain Rauscher Wessels, a U.S. brokerage and investment banking firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 2001 – RBC acquired Centura Bank based in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
  • 2003 – RBC purchased Florida interest in Provident Financial Group, Cincinnati OH.
  • 2006 – RBC upgraded its representative office in Beijing, China, to a branch.
  • 2006 – Created an institutional investment joint venture with Dexia. The 50/50 partnership operated under the name RBC Dexia Investor Services.[26]
  • 2008 – RBC established a representative office in Mumbai, India. RBC re-acquired 98.14% of the shares of Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. This brought RBC back to Trinidad and Tobago some 20 years after it had withdrawn and provided it with a presence in other islands served by RBTT.
  • 2011 – RBC sold RBC Bank to PNC Financial Services for US$3.62 billion. PNC ATMs are now used by customers with RBC Bank (Georgia), N.A. providing Canadians with bank options when they are residing in the US.
  • 2012 – RBC completed the acquisition of Dexia's 50-percent stake in RBC Dexia Investor Services Limited, making it the sole owner of the newly named [RBC Investor & Treasury Services].[27] RBC also opened a Branch in Wilemstad, Curaçao.
  • 2014 – RBC "entered into a merger agreement to acquire City National Corporation", a major U. S. bank.[28]
  • 2015 – RBC agreed to sell its Swiss private bank Royal Bank of Canada (Suisse) SA to local rival SYZ Group. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Royal Bank of Canada (Suisse) manages Sfr. 10 billion (US$10.5 billion, C$13.4 billion) of assets for clients in Africa, the Middle East and South America.[29]
  • 2015 – RBC completed the acquisition of City National Bank (November)
  • 2016 - On January 21, 2016, Aviva announced the acquisition of RBC General Insurance Company, for CAD$582 million.[30]
  • 2019 – RBC agreed to sell its Eastern Caribbean banking operations, in places such as Antigua, Dominica, & Saint Lucia, to a consortium of banks in the region.[31]


The bank's symbol is a golden lion clutching a globe, on a blue background. An older version depicted a crown above the globe and the lion faced to the left. The change coincided with an expansion in United States markets. Over the years, the lion's mane has also become less detailed and more stylized, and the tongue was shortened.[32]


Like many of its competitors, RBC is a key sponsor of many events, community programs, and charities. One percent of RBC's average annual net income before taxes is set aside for charitable partnerships via the arms-length RBC Foundation.

RBC is a major sponsor of numerous cultural events, including the Toronto International Film Festival. It also sponsors the RBC Taylor Prize, a literary award for non-fiction writing in Canada, and hosts a yearly Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award.[33][34] In July 2013, the RBC Foundation partnered with the University of Toronto to revive the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, given to recognize achievement in Canadian theatre.[35]

RBC is one of Canada's largest sponsors of amateur sports and is the longest-running Canadian sponsor of the Olympic Games. It employs dozens of top-tier amateur athletes as part-time spokespeople through the RBC Olympians program. RBC is a former premier sponsor of Hockey Canada and previously owned the naming rights to the National Junior A Championship, then called the Royal Bank Cup (later the RBC Cup). In addition, it supports Canadian hockey at the grassroots level through the RBC Play Hockey program.

RBC owns naming rights to the RBC Centre, RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, RBC Canadian Open, and RBC Heritage (formerly the Heritage Classic). From 2002 to 2012, RBC previously held the naming rights to what is now the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.[36]

Corporate governance

The title of Royal Bank's top executive has changed several times. Initially it was styled as President. Later, it became chief executive officer and one often carried additional responsibilities as chairman of the board, while the second-in-command was the President. Allan R. Taylor was chairman and CEO from 1986 to 1994, and he was succeeded by John Cleghorn in that capacity from 1994 to 2001. Dave McKay is currently the President and chief executive officer.

David P. O'Brien has served as the institution's chairman (non-executive) since 2004. The position was formerly held by Guy Saint-Pierre, who held the position from 2001 to 2004.

Chief Executive Officer

Head Offices

Place Ville Marie serves as the official head office for RBC, whereas Royal Bank Plaza serves as the bank's corporate headquarters.[4]

The head office for the institution was initially located at the Merchants' Bank of Halifax Building, on Bedford Row, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia. The building served as the head office for the bank from 1864 to 1907. In 1907, the RBC relocated its head office to the Four Pillars Building, at 147 Saint Jacques Street (renumbered 221 in 1928), Montreal. The building was used as RBC's head office until 1928. The Four Pillars Building was later demolished, with only its facade remaining.[37] In 1928, RBC moved its head office to the Old Royal Bank Building, at 360 Saint Jacques Street, Montreal.

In 1962, RBC moved its head office to Place Ville-Marie, at University Street and René-Lévesque Blvd in Montreal. In 1976, RBC completed Royal Bank Plaza, at 200 Bay Street, Toronto. RBC's official head office still remains at Place Ville-Marie; although Royal Bank Plaza is listed by RBC as its corporate headquarters,[4] with most of its management operations based there.[2]



On January 15, 2007, CBC Radio reported RBC is "refusing" people of certain nationalities to open U.S. dollar accounts with the bank.[38] Canadian citizens with dual citizenship in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea or Sudan (mostly countries with U.S. sanctions) are affected. The U.S. Treasury Department restricts certain foreign nationals from using the U.S. dollar payment system to limit terrorism and money laundering after the September 11, 2001, attacks. RBC replied that compliance with such laws does not represent an endorsement by the bank and on January 17, clarified its position on the application of the U.S. laws, specifying that "with some exceptions" it does open accounts for dual citizens of the sanctioned countries.[39] There have also been reports that the bank has closed the accounts of some Iranian-Canadian citizens.[40]


Environmental groups have criticized RBC's financing of oil sands bitumen extraction and expansion, cumulatively issuing "more than $2.3 billion in loans and financing more than $6.9 billion in [corporate] debt between 2003 and 2007 for 13 companies including: Encana, Husky Energy, OPTI Canada, Delphi Energy, Canadian Oil Sands Trust, Northwest Upgrading, Suncor, Total, Connacher Oil and Gas, InterPipeline and Enbridge". This opposition is due to the detrimental effect Oil Sands extraction has on the environment and human health.[41]

Funding of SCO litigation on Linux

RBC invested in SCO during the series of court cases seeking to collect royalties from the users of Linux.

Temporary foreign workers and Canadian layoffs

In April 2013, the CBC reported that the Royal Bank of Canada was indirectly hiring temporary foreign workers to replace 45 Canadian information technology workers.[42]

The CBC reported on May 7, 2013, that during Question Period in Parliament the NDP leveled accusations against the government and then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to which he responded that the government has been working on problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for more than a year.[43]


RBC is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and is a registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks.

It is also a member of:

See also


  1. McDowall 1993, Inlay
  2. Yusufali, Sasha (4 August 2015). "Royal Bank of Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  3. "RBC 2018 second quarter report" (PDF). RBC. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
  4. "Royal Bank of Canada: Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Royal Bank of Canada. 31 October 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  5. "About RBC Bank: Company Profile". Royal Bank of Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  6. "Royal Bank of Canada: Annual Report 2008" (PDF). RBC. 31 October 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  7. "Canada's 100 biggest companies by market cap". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: 23 June 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  8. "The Global 2000". Forbes. 2 April 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  9. "Corporate Profile". RBC. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  10. "Global Private Banking Benchmark 2014 | Scorpio Report". 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  11. "RBC Insurance History". 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  12. Pound, Richard W. (30 September 2004). Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. ISBN 978-1550411713.
  13. Kalman, Harold D.; Vattay, Sharon (16 December 2013). "Bank Architecture". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Foundation. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  14. As Long as this Land Shall Last: A History of Treaty 8 and Treaty 11, 1870-1939
  15. Union Bank of Canada, Fort Smith, North West Territories, 1921
  16. Nineteenth Legislature (1936). Ontario Sessional Papers (PDF). p. iii. OL 23742693M.
  17. Brock, Daniel J. (1990). "Jeffery, Joseph". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XII (1891–1900) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  18. Jordan, Meredith (3 June 2002). "RBC Centura aims high with Eagle Bancshares". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  19. "Royal Bank buys online savings bank Ally for $3.8B". CBC News. October 23, 2012.
  20. "Awards & Recognition". Royal Bank of Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  21. "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Canada's Top 100 Employers Competition".
  22. "Global-Warming Ready". Newsweek. 8 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  23. Taylor, Scott; Jackson, Kenneth (19 May 2010). "Police chief vows to nab 'domestic terrorists'". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  24. "The Impact of Privitisation on the Banking Sector in the Caribbean" (PDF). United Nations: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. 30 November 2001. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  25. "Implementation Completion Report on a Credit in the Amount of SDR 3.5 Million to the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana for a Financial & Private Sector Institutional Development Project" (PDF). World Bank. 15 June 2003. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  26. "RBC seeks buyout of Dexia joint venture". Yahoo! Canada – Finance. 11 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  27. Robertson, Grant (3 April 2013). "RBC buying full ownership of RBC Dexia". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  28. "RBC to acquire City National Corporation, a premier U.S. private and commercial bank" (Press release). Royal Bank of Canada. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  29. "RBC sells Swiss private bank operations" (Press release). Royal Bank of Canada. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  30. "Aviva Canada announces the acquisition of RBC General Insurance Company". 2016-01-20.
  31. The Canadian Press (December 12, 2019). "Royal Bank selling Eastern Caribbean banking operations to consortium". Canadian Business. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  32. "Royal Bank of Canada Updates Brand Name and Logo" (Press release). Royal Bank of Canada. 20 August 2001. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  33. "RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  34. "Charles Taylor Prize now known as RBC Taylor Prize; adds secondary award". Victoria Times Colonist. The Canadian Press. 9 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  35. "The Siminovitch Prize in Theatre announces new partnerships with University of Toronto and RBC Foundation". Yahoo! Finance. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  36. "RBC buys naming rights for Winnipeg convention centre". CBC News. 2 July 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  37. "Fiche d'un bâtiment: Ancien siège social de la Banque Royale" [Saint James, the street of banks]. Vieux-Montréal: site officiel (in French). Ville de Montréal. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  38. "U.S. banking regulators carry a big stick". The Globe and Mail. 19 January 2007. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  39. "RBC issues clarification on U.S. dollar accounts" (Press release). Royal Bank of Canada. 17 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-01-20. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  40. "Discussions on closed bank accounts between Royal Bank of Canada and Iranian groups". Salam Toronto. 3 July 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  41. Finkel, Madelon (1 June 2018). "The impact of oil sands on the environment and health". Environmental Science and Health. Archived from the original on 2019-04-30.
  42. Tomlinson, Kathy (6 April 2013). "RBC replaces Canadian staff with foreign workers". CBC News. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  43. "Harper says foreign worker program is being fixed". CBC News. 7 May 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  44. "First Canadian Businesswomen's Trade Mission to Australia, Sydney, June 11–14, 2002". Royal Bank of Canada. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.

Further reading

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