Canadian Banks 2017 #Bankovation

Innovation. Modernization. Reinvention.

Bill McFarland

CEO and Senior Partner
PwC Canada

Diane Kazarian

National Financial Services Leader
PwC Canada

The 2017 edition of our report on the Canadian banking sector finds the Big Six banks delivering robust results despite facing a host of competitive, financial and operational pressures. Disruptors like FinTech companies, technology giants and other non-traditional competitors continue to impact the market and challenge the status quo. The largest upgrade to Canada’s payments infrastructure in decades is imminent. The regulatory burden and associated costs continue to grow, along with increased customer expectations for seamless, connected services.

And the banks are moving with urgency by embracing disruptors and making substantial investments in technology and new ways of working in a digital world. They see FinTech firms as partners and collaborators to enhance customer experience, and they’re focused on improving operational efficiency.

The change in the landscape has been remarkable, and 2017 will be an exciting, innovative year for Canada’s banks.



Banking reinvented


Banks are embracing fresh thinking in their efforts to get out in front of a rapidly changing competitive landscape, shifting customer expectations and constantly evolving technology.

Embracing innovation

As they strive to become more innovative and agile, banks are increasingly embracing and inspired by technological innovations:

  • New roles - and technology savvy leaders

  • Partnering for ‘ground floor’ innovation

  • Capitalizing on Canada’s strengthening FinTech sector

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Pain points for 2017

A significant portion of the intense activity, investment and collaboration we’re seeing in Canada’s banking sector is devoted to addressing two key pain points in Canadian banking: customer friction and concerns about back-office efficiency.

The friction problem

Banks and FinTechs alike are driven by the need to reduce customer friction and make banking as seamless, easy and straightforward as possible. Despite advances in web and mobile banking, Canadian banks’ customers are frustrated by the fact that they have to visit a branch to conduct certain key banking tasks, such as opening an account or getting a loan.

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Back-office transformation

Canada’s banks are continually striving to improve the efficiency of their back-office operations and reduce their complexity and cost—not an easy task for organizations burdened by decades-old legacy systems. Automation, whether FinTech-driven or not, is seen as a key part of the solution.

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Payments modernization puts new pressure on bank infrastructure


Canada’s national payments system, largely untouched for decades, has proven a source of significant customer friction in Canada over the years.

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RegTech: Innovative compliance solutions


The regulatory burden and compliance costs have continued to rise significantly. Canadian banks, like many of their peers worldwide, have typically addressed compliance challenges by adding more people. But this approach is proving less and less effective as compliance functions are becoming heavily layered.

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RegTech ecosystem evolving fast

The RegTech ecosystem is evolving rapidly. Know-your-customer (KYC) identity and verification solutions are already in use; in August 2016, BMO signed on with, and other banks are considering RegTech for anti-money laundering efforts, data pooling and case management.

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