Of those holding a bank account (96 percent of all respondents,3 most (60 percent) dealt with only one financial institution for their everyday banking activities.
Those most likely to deal with only one institution were older respondents and those with lower levels of education. As a consequence, these respondents were less aware of competition and less likely to shop around.
Also, in regions where educational and economic backgrounds were lower respondents were more likely to deal with only one institution (Quebec, Atlantic Provinces and northern Canada).
Most (76 percent) of those holding a bank account said that they reviewed their bank statements at least on a monthly basis, in the last year.
Those least likely to regularly review their bank statements were those living in Quebec.
Of those holding a bank account, 9 percent said they had experienced problems with their institution's policy of holding funds when depositing a cheque.
Those least likely to report problems associated with holding of funds were those living in Quebec and older respondents.
Most (72 percent) of those holding a bank account chose the right answer among four possible responses to the question which asked who is responsible if two people open a joint bank account (right answer - both are responsible for the entire account).
Those least likely to choose the right answer were older respondents.
Extrapolated to population figures, it was estimated that nearly 6.5 million Canadians don't know that both people are responsible for a jointly-opened savings or chequing account.
Of all respondents, 8 percent opened or tried to open a new bank account during the last year, with a new financial institution.
Overall, 1-2 percent of the total sample had experienced problems trying to open a new bank account. Extrapolated to population figures, they represented approximately 350,000 adult Canadians.
Of those who tried to open a new bank account, almost all (96 percent) were able to open it at the financial institution of their choice. Extrapolated to population figures, it was estimated that approximately 7,000 adult Canadians were not able to open a new bank account at the institution of their choice, during the last year.
Of those who tried to open a new bank account, almost half did not shop around.
These findings suggest that, despite the high public attention on bank fees and the very competitive marketing of 'distinctive' bank account features, there is a low propensity on behalf of consumers to shop around. This may be explained by the importance of convenience, the perception that everyday bank accounts are 'commodities', low consumer awareness of fees, and/or because consumers do not feel competent or knowledgeable enough to compare.
Footnote 1 Based on this finding, it was estimated that nearly 1 million adult Canadians do not have a savings or chequing account.