Oh Canada! We believe in our Canadian Banks

    TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - These days, it's not easy being a bank. Tight
liquidity, large credit write-downs and sagging profitability have plagued the
industry across the globe. And of course Canada is not immune to events in the
rest of the world. But a new survey compiled by Leger Marketing for
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC)'s Annual Banking Survey shows that 84% of
Canadians feel that Canada has one of the strongest banking systems in the
world and 85% have confidence in them.
    "Canadians are confident in their banks, and they should be," says George
Sheen, leader of the Canadian Financial Services practice at PwC. "They are
well regulated, well capitalized and well run."
    According to the survey of 1513 Canadians conducted in December 2008, 92%
feel that the strength of Canadian banks is critical to the health of the
overall economy. A further 91% feel their deposits are secure with the
Canadian banks, and 82% believe they were well run. "How many other countries
would score this well?" comments Sheen.
    In fact, very few would. A recent survey by the Worldwide Independent
Network of Market Research showed that respondents in many major countries
rated banks at or below five out of 10 in terms of their stability and
solidity, including the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland.
    And the strong results in Canada were despite the limited knowledge among
Canadians that the country was recently rated as having the soundest banking
system in the world by the World Economic Forum. "Canadians don't need to be
told how solid their banks are; they know we're fortunate," notes Sheen.
    Despite their resiliency though, Canadian banks were impacted by the
financial turmoil. PwC's Annual Banking Survey shows that in fiscal 2008,
combined annual profits for the Big Six banks dropped $7.5 billion to just
over $12 billion from a record $19.5 billion in 2007. This puts 2008 income on
par with the results from 2005. But in these unprecedented times, the Canadian
banks are in relatively good shape to weather the difficult downturn.
    For a copy of the survey, please contact Carolyn Forest,

    About the Survey

    -   An online survey was conducted by Leger Marketing between December 16
        and 21, 2008.
    -   The survey was conducted using a national random sample of 1,513
        respondents from Leger Marketing's Web panel. A probability sample of
        the same size would yield a margin of error of +\-2.5%, 19 times out
        of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, (416) 941 8383 x 13520, nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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