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Big Five is the name colloquially given to the five largest banks that dominate the banking industry of Canada. All five banks are operationally based in Toronto. All five banks are classified as Schedule I banks that are domestic banks operating in Canada under government charter. The banks' shares are widely held, with any entity allowed to hold a maximum of twenty percent.
The Big Five are among the world's strongest banks, with Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal & Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at 11th, 15th, 21st, 28th & 29th place, respectively.
In modern history, Royal Bank has always been the largest by a significant margin, although TD Bank has overtaken RBC in recent years. Up to the late 1990s, CIBC was the second largest, followed by Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, and TD Bank. During the late 1990s and beyond, this ranking changed due to several reorganizations. Royal Bank acquired Royal Trust in 1993, while Scotiabank purchased National Trust in 1997. As Scotiabank found no merger partners among the other banks in the big five group, it instead expanded its international operations and passed the Bank of Montreal in size. TD Bank merged with Canada Trust, which was for a long time the largest trust in Canada, thus vaulting TD into the number one spot. There has been no major changes to Bank of Montreal. CIBC's first unsuccessful foray into the US market led it to shed its assets there, dropping it to the number five spot.