Credit unions continue to outperform banks when it comes to serving the financial needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a new research report issued by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Among the big five banks, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), and Scotiabank were tied with the highest overall scores while CIBC received the lowest.
"Banks need to pay close attention to the report's findings if they are serious about serving the small business market," said CFIB vice president of research Doug Bruce. "Overall, credit unions do the best job of serving entrepreneurs, while Scotiabank and BMO are tied in receiving the highest overall scores among the big banks. CIBC is the worst big bank for small business – that's the same as it was in 2010, when we issued our previous banking report."
In addition to providing bank scores by size of business, CFIB's Battle of the Banks includes a wealth of information including SME market shares of the banks, and policy recommendations. The bank scores are based upon nearly 13,000 survey responses from small business owners on four key issues: financing, fees, experience with account managers, and service.
Battle of the Banks shows a disturbing trend: the smaller the business, the lower the overall bank score. Compared to larger businesses, smaller firms have a tougher time getting the financing they need from their bank.
"Access to affordable financing and banking services is essential for hard-working entrepreneurs, and it's clear that all of the banks should do more to serve small business clients," said CFIB president and CEO Dan Kelly. "I strongly encourage small business owners to visit the CFIB website and find out how their bank performed in our report."