Savings up dramatically among Canadians according to HSBC survey

    VANCOUVER, April 15 /CNW/ - Canada has long been thought of as a nation
of savers and a new study by HSBC Bank Canada found that this behavior has
intensified due to the current economic uncertainty.
    The HSBC Savers Survey found that 84 per cent of Canadians have some
savings put aside. This percentage is up dramatically compared to a 2006 HSBC
survey, which found that only 67 per cent of Canadians had funds put away for
the future or an emergency.
    The percentage of Canadians that indicated they have savings varied
somewhat across the country:

    -   Albertans have the highest savings rate with 92 per cent indicating
        they have some savings
    -   Atlantic Canada has the lowest rate of savers at 77 per cent
    -   The percentage of Quebec savers was 80 per cent
    -   The savings rate for BC residents is 84 per cent, in line with the
        national average
    -   89 per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents claimed to have
    -   86 per cent of Ontario residents had some savings put away

    Rick Kelln, Senior Vice President, HSBC Bank Canada, said: "It is not
surprising that Canadians are becoming increasingly cautious about not only
how and when they spend their hard earned dollars these days, but also how and
where they save. For example, not only are savings rates up but Canadians are
increasingly becoming more conscious of the kinds of savings options available
to them such as the TFSA or high rate savings accounts."
    The newly launched Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) is proving to be a
particularly popular saving tool as a result of the recent awareness campaigns
by the federal government and many banks, including HSBC. The survey found
that 88 per cent of Canadians are already aware of the TFSA, with 68 per cent
of them saying they plan on opening an account.
    Of those planning to open a TFSA, 70 per cent say they would use it for
general savings and retirement planning while 23 per cent see it as a good
vehicle for emergency funds.
    Younger people (defined as those aged 18-34) who plan to open a TFSA
intend to use the account for general savings, emergencies or education. This
is in contrast to older Canadians aged 34-54 who, according to the survey, are
more likely to see their TFSA as part of their retirement savings.
    34 per cent of those who plan to open a TFSA intend to open a
high-interest savings account. This is especially true for younger respondents
(aged 18-34) and for residents in Ontario.
    15 per cent will be using their TFSA for Guaranteed Investment
Certificates (GICs) or term deposits. 16 per cent anticipate using the TFSA
for mutual funds or stocks and bonds, and 36 per cent intend to use a
combination of all these investments and savings instruments.
    The current economy also seems to be having an effect on TFSA awareness.
20 per cent of respondents indicated that economic conditions have in fact
increased the likelihood that they will open a TFSA in the near future.
    The HSBC Savers Survey of 1,000 Canadians was conducted in February 2009
by the national market research data collection firm Opinion Search.

    HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, has more than 290
offices, including over 140 bank branches, and is the leading international
bank in Canada. With around 9,500 offices in 86 countries and territories and
assets of US$2,527 billion at 31 December 2008, the HSBC Group is one of the
world's largest banking and financial services organizations.

For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Ernest Yee, Vice President,
Corporate Affairs, HSBC Bank Canada, (604) 641-2973; Michael Edmonds, Senior
Manager, Public Affairs, HSBC Bank Canada, (416) 868-8282

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