Laurentian Bank of Canada is a Quebec-based financial institution that offers a wide range of traditional banking services. Founded in 1846 as the Montreal City and District Savings Bank, it’s primarily a regional bank with 58 personal banking branches accessible only in Quebec. However, all Canadians can access its products with online banking.
Frequently overshadowed by big banks like RBC and TD, Laurentian Bank’s history is marked by slower growth compared to its peers. It’s also experienced challenges recently, including an IT outage in September 2023 that left customers unable to access its online banking services.
Laurentian Bank of Canada
Rated 3/5 stars.
- Account Options Chequing Accounts, Savings accounts, Visa Credit Cards, Investing Accounts
- Countries Served Canada Only
- Branches in Canada 58 branches and 145 ABMs
- Zero transaction fees (excluding Interac) for chequing accounts with a minimum $3,000 balance
- Earn up to 4% interest on regular savings account balance
- Laurentian Bank credit cards: Visa Infinite, Visa CashBack, Visa Reduced Rate, Visa Reward Me
- Registered savings and retirement accounts: TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF
- Fixed-rate and market-linked GICs
- Fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages
- Lines of credit, personal loans, HELOC, and RRSP loans
Despite these struggles, Laurentian Bank has made a solid effort to boost growth and enhance its product offerings in the past few years. Most recently, it launched a series of Visa-branded credit cards in partnership with Brim Financial and debuted its first mobile app. And with a new Laurentian bank CEO at the helm (Éric Provost was appointed as chief executive on October 2, 2023), the future may be promising.
In this review, we’ll take a look at what Laurentian Bank offers to help you decide if it’s a good fit for your banking needs.
Laurentian Bank: an overview
Laurentian Bank works like any traditional banking institution in Canada. You can open bank accounts, take out loans, apply for a mortgage, and invest your money in registered and non-registered investment accounts. It offers everything you would expect from a major banking institution like TD or RBC, though its selection of financial products, such as credit cards, is smaller overall.
You can conduct financial transactions and apply for various accounts, loans, and investments in person at a physical personal banking branch (available only in Quebec) or through the online banking portal, LBCDirect. With regard to online banking, Laurentian Bank has also recently introduced a mobile app, which you can access safely with your Laurentian Bank log in details.
In the following sections, we’ll explore the types of financial products Laurentian Bank offers, including:
- Chequing accounts
- High-interest savings account (HISA)
- Credit cards
- GICs and other investment products
We’ll also examine its fee structure, how it compares to other banks, and the benefits and drawbacks of being a Laurentian Bank customer.
Laurentian Bank chequing accounts
Laurentian Bank offers several chequing accounts geared toward different spending habits and demographics. A notable perk is that account transactions (except Interac e-Transfers and Interac debit transactions) are free if you maintain a monthly balance of at least $3,000.
Laurentian Bank’s most popular chequing account option is the Unlimited account for a monthly fee of $14.75. As the name implies, you can conduct as many transactions as you want, including withdrawals, bill payments, pre-authorized debits, and Interac e-Transfers.
The Preferred account gives you 20 monthly transactions for $7.50 per month. As with the Unlimited version, you can transfer funds, pay bills, and conduct Interac debit transactions. However, you’ll have to pay an extra fee of $1.00 for Interac e-Transfers.
The Basic account is ideal if you’re not a heavy spender. For a $4.00 monthly fee, you get 12 transactions, which include bill payments, pre-authorized debits, transfers, and Interac debt transactions (Interac e-Transfers cost $1.00 each).
The Youth Plan is for banking users under 18 years of age. If you qualify for this account, you’ll get unlimited transactions (except e-Transfers) and pay zero monthly fees.
The 65+ Plan provides four complimentary monthly transactions (excluding e-Transfers) and no monthly fee. You must be at least 65 years old to be eligible for this account.
Laurentian Bank high-interest savings account (HISA)
Laurentian Bank’s high-interest savings account (HISA) aims to compete with other high-interest savings accounts offered by its competitors, including digital banks like Tangerine. Currently, it provides a competitive interest rate of 3% on savings under $100,000. This rate is higher than most of Canada’s top banks, such as RBC and TD, which are below 2%.
For savings above $100,000 and up to $5,000,000, the interest rate is 4%. Any amount above $5,000,000 earns 1%.
The HISA has no minimum balance requirements, making it highly accessible. There’s also no monthly maintenance fee. However, there are transaction fees to pay. A $1.00 fee applies to Interac e-Transfers, pre-authorized payments, and transfers between your bank account and LBCDirect or the mobile app.
While there are no personal banking branches outside Quebec, HISA registration is entirely done online, so you can open an account anywhere in Canada. Once up and running, you can fund your HISA by transferring money from your Laurentian chequing account, sending it through Interac e-Transfer, or linking an external bank account.
To qualify for a HISA, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and the age of majority in your province or territory. You must also provide a valid social insurance number (SIN) and government-issued photo ID.
Laurentian Bank is a Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), Canadian Banker’s Association, and Interac Corp. member, so you can rest easy knowing your money is protected with CDIC coverage for up to $100,000.
Laurentian Bank credit cards
Laurentian Bank offers the following credit cards:
- Laurentian Bank Visa Infinite
- Laurentian Bank Visa Cashback
- Laurentian Bank Visa Reduced Rate
- Laurentian Bank Visa Reward Me
Laurentian Bank mortgage offerings
If you’re an aspiring homeowner, Laurentian Bank can help you get the financing you need to enter the real estate market. Like most banking institutions, it provides various fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgage options.
For a fixed-rate mortgage, terms between six months and 10 years are available with closed and convertible options. You can lock in a pre-approved rate for up to 120 days and customize your payment schedule to make mortgage payments monthly, at month-end, biweekly, or weekly. Accelerated payment frequencies are also available.
If you plan to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible, you can take advantage of the prepayment option, which gives you the choice to:
- Contribute an additional yearly payment of up to 15% of your original principal
- Increase your regular payment amount by up to 15% each year
For closed variable-rate mortgages, terms are three or five years. You can set up a monthly, month-end, biweekly, or weekly payment frequency and convert your variable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate closed term of an equal length whenever you like. Prepayments up to 15% of the original principal are allowed once a year.
Laurentian Bank GIC rates
If you’re interested in GICs, below are the interest rates that Laurentian Bank offers. Keep in mind that GIC rates can change frequently:
- 3 months: 3%
- 6 months: 3.5%
- 9 months: 4.25%
- 1 year: 5.40%
- 2 years: 5.65%
- 3 years: 5.35%
- 4 years: 5.25%
- 5 years: 5.30%
- 7 years: 5.10%
- 10 years: 5.10%
ActionGICs are index-linked GICs, a hybrid investment product that offers returns “linked” to a specific stock market index over a predetermined period. You can select from three ActionGICs:
Canadian Sustainability. Geared toward investors with a social conscience, this ActionGIC invests in publicly traded Canadian companies that apply environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values as part of their business strategies. The current underlying index contains 15 companies, including Hydro One Ltd and Telus Corp. This GIC has a three-year term and the maximum return you can earn is 40%.
Quebec Performance. This ActionGIC invests in Quebec-based publicly traded firms across various sectors, including technology and financial services. It’s a great way to gain exposure to stock market returns while supporting the Quebec economy. The GIC term spans four years and you’ll have the opportunity to earn a 100% return on your funds.
Blue Chip. The Blue Chip Action GIC invests in large publicly traded Canadian companies with solid growth listed on the S&P/TSX60. If you’re looking for a chance to maximize your return on an investment, this is where you’ll want to park your money. The GIC term is five years, and there’s no cap on how much you can earn.
ActionGICs are eligible for inclusion in a registered account, such as a TFSA or RRSP, allowing you to shield your gains from taxes. The minimum investment requirement for each ActionGIC is $500.
Laurentian Bank mutual funds
- Mackenzie Global Green Bond Fund
- Mackenzie Global Sustainable Bond Fund
- Mackenzie Betterworld Canadian Equity Fund
- Mackenzie Betterworld Global Equity Fund
- Mackenzie Greenchip Global Environmental Balanced Fund
- Mackenzie Global Women’s Leadership Fund
- Mackenzie Global Environmental Equity Fund
- Mackenzie Global Sustainable Balanced Fund
What is Laurentian Bank?
Laurentian Bank of Canada is a Schedule 1 bank that offers a broad range of banking products and services, including chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and investments. The bank provides both personal and commercial banking.
Unlike other major Canadian banking institutions, it operates primarily in Quebec, where it maintains 58 branches (though it maintains offices related to its business and commercial banking divisions in several other provinces, too).
Laurentian Bank offers banking services in-person and online through its website and mobile app.
Compare Laurentian Bank alternatives
|Laurentian Bank||Tangerine Bank||EQ Bank|
|Savings Account Interest Rate||1%-4%||1% (6% promotional)||2.50% plus .5% bonus for direct deposit and pre-authorized debits|
|GIC 1-Year Rate||5.40%||5.50%||5.75%|
Laurentian Bank fees
The fees you can anticipate paying if you bank with Laurentian Bank of Canada depend on which products and services you use.
As with any traditional bank, there are maintenance fees associated with bank accounts and pay-per-use fees for certain transactions. Chequing account monthly service fees range from $4 – $14.75, and zero-monthly-fee accounts are available for students and seniors.
Interac e-Transfers will cost you $1.00, though the non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee is quite steep, at $65. The foreign currency exchange rate is 2.5% of the converted total, which is standard for most financial institutions.
Here are some other notable fees:
- Paper statements: $3 per month
- Interac debit transaction: $1.25
- Cheque payment: 1.25*
- Pre-authorized payment $1.00*
- ATM withdrawal from a Laurentian Bank or the EXCHANGE Network ATM: $1.00*
- Transfer between Laurentian bank accounts and LBCDirect or the mobile app: $1.00*
- Overdraft protection: $5.00 per month of usage
- Deposit of US dollar bills into a Canadian bank account: $3.00 if under CAD 1,000
- Electronic funds transfer sent in Canada: minimum $20.00
*Free if you maintain a minimum of $3,000 in your account
Pros and cons of Laurentian Bank
Below are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before becoming a customer:
Wide range of investment accounts and loan products
High savings account rate (up to 4%)
Online, mobile, and in-person banking options are available
Chequing account transaction fees (excluding Interac) are waived if you maintain a balance of $3,000
Physical personal banking branches are located only in Quebec
High-interest savings account (HISA) doesn’t offer a promotional rate
Chequing accounts don’t offer rewards programs, rebates, or other perks
Our final thoughts
Laurentian Bank of Canada is an excellent choice if you prefer banking with a smaller, regional financial institution that offers a decent range of traditional financial products and services. It’s particularly convenient if you live in Quebec, as you can visit a physical branch if necessary.
For anyone outside Quebec, Laurentian Bank’s main draws are the high-interest savings account and zero-dollar transaction fees for chequing accounts with a minimum $3,000 balance.
Laurentian Bank offers fewer products compared to the Big Five banks. But if you’re content with standard financial solutions for your banking, borrowing, and investing needs, this feature will hardly be an issue.
Learn more about how we rate banks and credit unions by visiting our methodology page.