2.1.1 Basic services

A financial institution is an organization that provides banking or other financial services for customers. The term banking refers to the deposit, loan and similar services that these financial institutions offer.

While there are many types of financial institutions, in this module the term refers to institutions that take deposits, such as banks, credit unions, caisses populaires and trust companies. Most institutions can offer a similar range of services, although some may not offer everything. While banks and trust companies are owned by investors, credit unions and caisses populaires are owned by their members.

Banks and federally chartered trust companies are regulated by the Government of Canada, and credit unions can choose to be federally regulated. Credit unions, caisses populaires and provincially chartered trust companies are regulated by the provincial and territorial governments.


Banks and other financial institutions offer a wide range of financial services. The main ones for most people are deposit services, card services and loans.

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