A brief history of Fintech in Canada
In recent years, financial technology, or “fintech,” has been a fast rising sector in Canada. Fintech is the integration of technology into financial services and products in order to make them more accessible, efficient, and user-friendly. A reasonably supportive regulatory framework and a solid tech industry have fueled the expansion of fintech in Canada, resulting in the formation of a number of successful companies.
The early years
The early years of fintech in Canada were marked by a cautious approach relative to other countries.
Historically the financial sector has been highly concentrated. Only a few banks dominate the Canadian banking market, known colloquially as the Big Five; namely: Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO), and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). These institutions account for more than 85% of the Canadian banking industry. While Canada is a large country in terms of land mass, it only has a population of roughly 39 million people (vs. 334 million in the U.S.).
An early, notable Canadian fintech firm is Moneris. It was founded in 2000 as a 50/50 partnership between RBC and BMO. It was the first Canadian payment processor to deploy an integrated point-of-sale system, which allowed businesses to have all card transaction revenues flow into a single deposit account.
One of the key factors that has contributed to the growth of fintech in Canada is the country’s robust technology sector. Canada has been home to a number of leading technology companies, such as Nortel, BlackBerry, Shopify, and Hootsuite. This has created a supportive environment for the development of fintech companies, and has enabled these to access a wealth of tech talent and a rather well-established network of technology investors.
A diverse ecosystem
The Canadian fintech industry now includes a diverse variety of services and products.
The expansion of online lending platforms, which have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional bank loans, has been one of the important…