Pro Post: My Bank Was Great – But I Still Switched

Cross Country Banks

When pro poster Pracheer arrived in Canada, he found his banking options to be limited due to his lack of Canadian credit history. However, BMO took a chance on him – and made a loyal customer for life. However, while BMO offered great service, Pracheer took notice of better rates from other lenders… and wasn’t afraid to make the switch.

BMO Took a Chance on Me

Once upon a time, I was a BMO loyalist – and why not? When I immigrated to Canada five years ago, banks were reluctant to issue a credit card to me, even though I had $20,000 to deposit, simply because I had no credit history. At the time, BMO came to my rescue with a $500-limit credit card in exchange for a $5,000 security deposit. I made the monthly payments on time, and they were more than happy to release my security money before schedule.

Sticking Around For Great Service

When my wife joined me in Canada three years back, there was no question in my mind that we would choose  BMO for her banking, too. Our banking needs were simple and straightforward, limited to depositing cash, cheques and paying bills. I soon became hooked to online banking, making fewer visits to my branch – but when I did visit, I often received valuable advice from tellers. For example, they advised me to set up a separate savings account, and to put money aside every month with a TFSA. I found the staff to be friendly and, with my basic banking requirements, I was happy enough with the service.

Time to Move On

However, when it came time for house hunting a little over a year ago, I took a more opportunist approach.  As a diligent researcher, I started exploring rates and services offered by other financial institutions. After intense bank hopping and serious window shopping, we finally chose TD over BMO. This is because TD was offering us the best mortgage rate in the market at the time: 2.84 per cent on a five-year fixed term.

In my defense – before you label me as a traitor – my first choice was BMO. But their best offer of 2.99 per cent fell short of our expectations. Though the difference in the interest rates might look marginal, over the years we will be saving thousands of dollars with the services of TD.

Comparing for the Best Car Loan

I took the same approach for our auto loan, carefully studying the rates offered by different banks. Despite our relationships with BMO and TD, we ended up choosing Scotiabank as they offered a special zero per cent financing deal for Mazda vehicles. To me, this was a no brainer; no other lender came close to offering such a deal.

The Gift of Choice

In my opinion, the beauty of Canadian banks is the flexibility they offer to customers, who have the ability to take products out with multiple lenders. Despite not having chequing accounts with either TD or Scotiabank, we still scored competitive rates.

Yes, I still have a soft spot for BMO – but I am in the market to extract the best deal.  And, as the old saying goes, “All’s fair in war and business.”

About the Author: Pracheer Saran


I am a travel enthusiast and a freelance writer who loves to write about my escapades, from travel to beer – but when it comes to finances, I still had a lot to learn. I first moved to Canada five years ago, and as a new immigrant, getting a credit card to building a credit history was a mammoth task for me. I mostly learned from trial and error – and am still learning!

There is some homework a new immigrant can start a few months before moving to Canada to ensure a smoother settlement. So fasten your seat belts and join me for an informative ride as I share the challenges of managing my daily finances, hunting for my first job, battling high car insurance rates, buying my first house and securing a mortgage.

Related Topics

Personal Finance / Personal Finance News / Your Credit Score

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