Surviscor Canadian Consumer Banking Experience Reviews - Canadian Digital Banking Service Level Experience Rankings

Canadian Digital Banking Service Level Experience Rankings

Conexus Credit Union provides the Best Digital Banking Service Experience in Canada

For all Canadians, 2020 will go down as the year of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the year many had to re-visit the way they banked, and more importantly, interacted with their bank of choice. It should be understood that patience was a virtue in 2020. Regardless of whether a consumer was visiting a big box store, a local business or dealing with online shopping issues, one thing for sure was everyone was chalking up long waits and poor service levels to COVID. Sure, in some cases, it was true, but the reality is COVID should not be the scape goat for poor customer service. In digital banking, customer service average response times worsened to new 10-year highs, but the negative trend has unfortunately been a yearly event and can not be 100% attributed to COVID. #SolutionsNotExcuses

Despite the negative financial services trends in Canada, Saskatchewan-based Conexus Credit Union is the 2020 disrupter and winner of the 2020 Surviscor Service Level Assessment review with an exceptional 6-hour average response time over 163 electronic-based service interactions. For Canadian banks and credit unions, the stress of having to scramble between branches being shut down and customer service representatives forced to work from home, will not be forgotten for some time and, for sure, has executives pondering the next stage of customer service. In addition to losing branch interactions, Canadian consumers were forced to embrace digital banking platforms, not only for day-to-day banking needs but also for important processes as mortgages during another year of record house sales and continued low borrowing rates. With new everyday routines comes the need to learn new ways to transact, and interact, with all types of service-based firms that support our everyday needs. #ConexusCreditUnion#1

It has been long thought that the Canadian financial services' industry was one of the key benchmarks of customer service excellence and innovation and the emergence of generational needs, and preferences, coupled with the advancement of digital solutions over the past many years, has made servicing customers a logistical challenge. For instance, social media messaging through Twitter and Facebook was implemented years ago for Millennials and Gen Z customers much to the dismay of older generations. Its success is still under debate but then COVID rolls around making in-person interactions near impossible and the big banks start to market the new virtual assistants, which are sophisticated FAQs, and a return to phone interactions that come with long delays. The 2020 review expanded slightly from its 15-year history of focusing on the service interactions by including the extent of contact choices available to digital banking customers and the availability of them, from both the pre-login and login areas of all digital platforms. #TimesChangeExpectationsDoNot

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Breakdown of Digital Banking Service Response Times

Surviscor's Service Monitoring and Benchmarking Program drives the customer service benchmarking and performance evaluation. The review, now in its 16th year, analyzes the service interaction methods, service availability and evaluated 163 digital banking service enquiries per institution, across 32 Canadian digital consumer banking firms, sent between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2020. The program primarily uses 'mystery-shopper' public-site contact forms/emails and, in some cases, social media interactions.

2020 Surviscor Response Standards

Surviscor has 4 levels of response standards based on the average time to respond to a service request. The standards were first established in 2007 and were adjusted with lower response times in 2010 to reflect a great time for service, only to see the standards increased again in 2020 to sadly reflect the new normal of customer service expectations. The 2020 Surviscor Response Standards and non-Standards were as follows:

Response StandardDigital Banking FirmAverage Response TimeFull Company Review
Platinum: < 6 hoursNo Firms
Gold: 6-12 hoursConexus Credit Union6.03 hoursView Company Review
Silver: 12-18 hours Servus Credit Union13.37 hoursView Company Review
Bronze: 18-24 hoursEnvision Financial22.12 hoursView Company Review

Response Times not within Surviscor Standards

The 2020 results indicate that only 12% of online brokerage firms did not respond within the established Surviscor standards that max-out at 24 hours. The remaining response time results are:

1 - 2 Days Response Times
Digital Banking FirmAverage Response TimeFull Company Review
Assiniboine Credit Union25.62 hoursView Company Review
Steinbach Credit Union26.32 hoursView Company Review
Coast Capital Savings29.48 hoursView Company Review
First Calgary Financial30.23 hoursView Company Review
Affinity Credit Union31.93 hoursView Company Review
ICICI Bank of Canada37.05 hoursView Company Review
Alterna Savings37.52 hoursView Company Review
Desjardins41.57 hoursView Company Review
Alterna Bank41.82 hoursView Company Review
Meridian Credit Union45.03 hoursView Company Review
2-3 Days Response Times
Digital Banking FirmAverage Response TimeFull Company Review
RBC Royal Bank52.12 hoursView Company Review
Simplii Financial54.27 hoursView Company Review
Vancity62.40 hoursView Company Review
ATB Financial63.15 hoursView Company Review
motusbank63.75 hoursView Company Review
National Bank of Canada63.97 hoursView Company Review
3-4 Days Response Times
Digital Banking FirmAverage Response TimeFull Company Review
Manulife Bank of Canada92.70 hoursView Company Review
4-5 Days Response Times
Digital Banking FirmAverage Response TimeFull Company Review
Laurentian Bank of Canada100.27 hoursView Company Review
Blueshore Financial107.87 hoursView Company Review
Motive Financial108.00 hoursView Company Review
EQ Bank115.28 hoursView Company Review
Pace Credit Union118.12 hoursView Company Review
Firms without non-social, e-contact options at the end of 2020
Digital Banking FirmFull Company Review
BMO Bank of MontrealView Company Review
CIBCView Company Review
HSBC CanadaView Company Review
PC FinancialView Company Review
ScotiabankView Company Review
TangerineView Company Review
TD Canada TrustView Company Review

Go to Full Results table for Service Experience Scores

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Credit Unions are Winning the Service Battle

Canadian credit unions have typically not performed well in the Surviscor digital banking platform reviews, but it is not all gloom and doom. When it comes to service responsiveness, the Canadian credit union industry is winning as it is the 5th straight year that a credit union has provided the fastest average response time amongst the Canadian digital banking industry. This year's winner Conexus Credit Union overtook the 2019 winner, Servus Credit Union, with an impressive six-hour average response time. The leading bank, RBC Royal Bank, finished 10th overall but its average response time was 52 hours in 2020. #CreditUnionStrong

Are the Big Banks Losing, or Abandoning, the Battle?

Not many years ago, similar reviews would have had two to three of the big banks in the top 5 as Canadian consumer banking contact methods was limited to in-branch visits, phone calls and email-based service. Banks were forced to respond to emails, or service request forms that use email, in public site areas and build secure messaging centres for logged-in customers to interact. Enter social media platforms and the widespread use of artificial intelligence at financial firms and the banks have focused their efforts on reducing traditional customer service representatives and replacing them with virtual assistants and re-purposing some to only service social media-based interactions. Only RBC Royal Bank and National Bank of the big banks have not made the wholesale changes as of the end of 2020. #ArtificialFrustrationComing

Virtual Banks are missing the mark "¦ Again

Our message of disappointment with Canadian virtual banks continues. In addition to the weak features and functionality of the digital platforms, these banks are not providing adequate service responsiveness, methods, or availability of services to both potential and existing customers. Outside of EQ Bank and PC Financial, the other virtual banks fall under larger banking umbrellas and presented as discount offering with lower fees ad higher rates. Is it worth it though? EQ Bank has an average response time of 115 hours and PC Financial only offers full customer service options to its credit card customers. #RatesOverService

The BEST and WORST firms by CATEGORY

The 2020 Service Experience review expanded slightly from its 15-year history of focusing on the service interactions. It was expanded to include the various contact choices available at each banking firm and looked at the availability of the choices, from both the pre-login and logged-in areas of all digital platforms. Let us take look at how Canadian digital banking firms performed in each of the three main categories by not only focusing on the two best firms in each category but identifying the bottom firms who are clearly missing the mark and should be held accountable by Canadian consumer banking customers.

The Best and Worst Firms for Service Responsiveness

The Best and Worst Firms for Non-Customer Interaction Resources

The Best and Worst Firms for Customer Interaction Resources


The Service Responsiveness category is a summary of the 163 service interactions collected per firm initiated through the digital bank's chosen public-facing interaction facility, including an average time to respond, a peer-based service level index, the success of any stated response promise guidelines and information on which days of the week are optimal for Canadian consumer bankers. The results are collected through Surviscor's proprietary 15-year Service Level Assessment program.

The BEST Firms for Service Responsiveness:


Conexus Credit Union managed an impressive 6-hour average response time in 2020, which represented a 69% improvement from 2019, and 7 hours quicker than the next best firm.


Servus Credit Union was the next best firm in 2020 after being the best firm in 2019 with an average response time of 13 hours, a 20% improvement from 2019.

The WORST Firms for Service Responsiveness


This group of companies provides an easy narrative. Send us a service question but do not expect an answer. Why would anyone even bank with one of these firms? The most shocking of the four is EQ Bank as it is a virtual bank. #FirstImpressionsTellsAll

The DO-IT-OUR-WAY or NOTHING firms for Service Responsiveness

It is sad to see this list growing each year and the big banks leading the charge. It means that all these firms have abandoned any email-based functionality, either via a normal email address or service request forms and forcing non-customers back to the phones or to use social media sites for information. The trend is growing which is concerning? Is it the new way or adopted by firms who were not particularly good prior? That is for you to decide. #ProfitsOverService

  • Scotiabank - Started 10 years ago due to poor service
  • CIBC - This one makes no sense - Use to be the leader
  • TD Canada Trust - The former CT was built on service, extended hours, and flexibility - The TD portion has never been a leader so easier not to offer?
  • Tangerine - A no-branch firm takes away a service outlet? Really?
  • BMO Bank of Montreal - The newest member that has gone from 1st to last over the past 8 years - No more differentiation
  • HSBC Canada - Another new follower - Profits > Service
  • PC Financial - Another virtual bank not interested in service, unless you are a credit card holder of course as you are important to them making big money


The Non-Customer Interaction Resources category audits the public-site customer service 'touch-points' and personal assistance a consumer banker can receive from a bank or credit union staff, social media and other access channels through the various digital platforms offered.

The BEST Firms for Non-Customer Interaction Resources:

CIBC - #1

CIBC's public site offers both potential and current banking customers with a well-designed Contact Us support area, hours of service, specialist finders and digital appointment booking capabilities on both its online and mobile platforms.


National Bank of Canada provides a close-second experience to CIBC with many of the same features and functionality through both digital platforms.

The WORST Firms for Non-Customer Interaction Resources:


These firms mostly offer less contact methods, hours of service, and limited access via both digital platforms. #GiveUsMore


The Customer Interaction Resources category audits the direct banking customer contact with a bank or credit union staff including phone support, messaging centres, live chat, and other touch points of the secure login digital platforms.

The BEST Firms for Customer Interaction Resources:

CIBC - #1

CIBC is also the leader once inside the walls as it typically is an industry leader in providing consistent digital platform experiences regardless of the chosen customer device.


TD Canada Trust is a close second providing enhanced service methods and consistent digital experience across platforms like CIBC.

The WORST Firms for Customer Interaction Resources:


EQ Bank gets the nod inside the walls as well while the Meridian Credit Union family has some work to do to better service its current customers on both digital platforms. strong>#ServiceServiceService

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The 2020 Service Experience review provides a wealth of information through its collection of over 5,000 collected service interactions. Here is a quick look at some of the key facts:

  • MONDAY is the BEST day of the week to send service inquiries
  • Seven firms improved their one-year service response times by over 25% in 2020 with two of the seven improving by over 50%
  • The industry average response time was 61.84 hours in 2020, an 8% increase from 2019/li>
  • THURSDAY is the WORST day of the week to send service requests
  • Five firms average response times increased by 25% or more in 2020
  • The average response time at virtual banks is 78.83 hours and two firms, Tangerine and PC Financial do not offer non-social e-contact methods. EQ Bank responds in 115 hours on average, an increase of 28% in 2020
  • BMO Bank of Montreal and HSBC Bank of Canada abandoned non-social e-contact methods in 2020
  • Pace Credit Union has responded to 2% of service requests in two years


Do not give firms a COVID-PASS due to poor service levels - It is nothing new

A global pandemic can sure throw some wrenches into well-oiled service machines, but the reality is the machines have not been working at full capacity for many years. The 8% increase in average response time in the last year should be significant but year-over-year statistics indicate it was an average rise. The trends indicate that many digital consumer banking firms have chosen to create a new service level normal for Canadian consumer bankers over the past 10 years. Was it a mistake or was it well-planned to decrease expectations and allow firms to spend less on service and more on cross-selling revenue-producing activities? Decreasing expectations in today's immediate information world seems counter-intuitive but replacing real service with artificial intelligence virtual assistant's and spiderweb FAQ processes should not be tolerated by Canadian consumers.#DemandMoreNotExpectLess

Thanks for the ride Old Money - Time to focus on the New Money

Service reputation is the cornerstone of any consumer and business relationship and can be measured in several ways. The simple reality is that the service statistics and concerning newer trends of social-media and virtual assistants, send a message to consumers that the banks are trying to simplify the growing number of customer segments into its own preferred service process. The trends appear to be that both the big banks and virtual banks will now only provide contact methods that they feel attract the younger share of wallet, like Millennials and Gen Z, at the expense of providing adequate service levels to the generations that made them who they are. #NewMoneyRules

The Surviscor DISCLAIMER

Keep in mind that we are tough markers and have been for close to 15 years. Sure, we can be tough on many firms, but we also have no issues praising the ones who work hard to offer best of breed, industry-leading products, and services to deserving customers. Canadians work hard for their money and having a great financial partner should not be a privilege but rather a requirement. Banking firms do very well by us, and we should hold them accountable to the highest standards of customer experience. Do not forget that you hold the cards, not them, and there are a lot of firms to choose from. #DemandTheBest

FULL RESULTS - All Firms under Review

Service Experience RankDigital Banking FirmExperience ScoreFull Company Review
1Conexus Credit Union92 %View Company Review
2Servus Credit Union78 %View Company Review
3Coast Capital Savings57 %View Company Review
4Assiniboine Credit Union42 %View Company Review
5Envision Financial41 %View Company Review
T-6Desjardins38 %View Company Review
T-6Alterna Savings38 %View Company Review
T-6Steinbach Credit Union38 %View Company Review
9First Calgary Financial37 %View Company Review
10RBC Royal Bank35 %View Company Review
11Simply Financial34 %View Company Review
T-12Alterna Bank30 %View Company Review
T-12National Bank of Canada30 %View Company Review
T-12Affinity Credit Union30%View Company Review
T-15CIBC28 %View Company Review
T-15ICICI Bank of Canada28 %View Company Review
17Meridian Credit Union26 %View Company Review
18BMO Bank of Montreal23 %View Company Review
19TD Canada Trust22 %View Company Review
20Tangerine21 %View Company Review
T-21Vancity19 %View Company Review
T-21ATB Financial19 %View Company Review
23Scotiabank18 %View Company Review
24motusbank17 %View Company Review
25Blueshore Financial16 %View Company Review
T-26HSBC Bank of Canada14 %View Company Review
T-26Manulife Bank of Canada14 %View Company Review
T-28Motive Financial13 %View Company Review
T-28Laurentian Bank13 %View Company Review
30PC Financial10 %View Company Review
31EQ Bank8 %View Company Review
32Pace Credit Union4 %View Company Review

Learn More about Canadian Service Levels:

Online Brokerage Service Levels: 2020 Online Brokerage Service Results

Surviscor Group 2010-2019 Service Report: The State of Financial Customer Service in Canada - A Decade in Review

Surviscor Personalized Validation and Selection Tool scorChoice for Consumer Bankers and Online Investors to find their own #1 firm