Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Last updated
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Traded as
FoundedJune 1, 1961;57 years ago (1961-06-01) [1] [2] [3] [4] [lower-alpha 1]
Key people
  • Increase2.svg C$17.8 billion (2018)
  • C$16.3 billion (2017) [5]
  • Increase2.svg C$5.3 billion (2018)
  • C$4.7 billion (2017) [5]
Total assets
  • Increase2.svg C$597.1 billion (2018)
  • C$565.3 billion (2017) [5]
Total equity
  • Increase2.svg C$35.1 billion (2018)
  • C$31.2 billion (2017) [5]
Number of employees
  • Decrease2.svg 44,220 (FTE, 2018)
  • 44,928 (FTE, 2017) [5]
  • CIBC Bancorp USA Inc. [5]
  • CIBC Investments (Cayman) Limited [5]
  • CIBC Cayman Holdings Limited [5]
  • CIBC Trust Corporation [5]
  • CIBC World Markets plc [5]
  • CIBC Asset Management Inc. [5]

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (French : Banque Canadienne Impériale de Commerce), commonly referred to as CIBC, is one of the "Big Five" banks in Canada. The bank is headquartered at Commerce Court in Toronto, Ontario. [6] CIBC's Institution Number (or bank number) is 010, and its SWIFT code is CIBCCATT. It is also one of the two major banks originally founded in Toronto alongside Toronto-Dominion Bank.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Big Five is the name colloquially given to the five largest banks that dominate the banking industry of Canada: Bank of Montreal (BMO), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and Toronto–Dominion Bank (TD). The term Big Six is sometimes used to include Canada's next largest bank, National Bank of Canada.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.


The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was formed through the June 1, 1961, merger of the Canadian Bank of Commerce (founded 1867) and the Imperial Bank of Canada (founded 1873), the largest merger between chartered banks in Canadian history. [3] [7]

Canadian Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Bank of Commerce was a Canadian bank which was founded in 1867, and had hundreds of branches throughout Canada. It merged in 1961 with the Imperial Bank of Canada to form the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Imperial Bank of Canada

The Imperial Bank of Canada was a Canadian bank based in Toronto, Ontario in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

The bank has four strategic business units: Canadian Personal and Small Business Banking, Canadian Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets. [5] It has international operations in the United States, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. Globally, CIBC serves more than eleven million clients, and has over 40,000 employees. The company ranks at number 172 on the Forbes Global 2000 listing. [8] In 2012, CIBC was named the strongest bank in North America and the 3rd strongest bank in the world by Bloomberg Markets magazine. [9]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Caribbean region to the center-east of America composed of many islands and of coastal regions of continental countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Asia Earths largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.


Significant acquisitions

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Bank of Commerce

Bank of Canada (1858, charter dormant, acquired in 1867)

The Bank of Canada was granted a charter on August 16, 1858. The charter was granted to William Cayley, Joseph Curran Morrison, Angus Morrison Esq., John Ross, William Henry Boulton Esq. and Frederick William Cumberland Esq. The charter was never used and eventually sold to William McMaster in 1866 and renamed the Canadian Bank of Commerce, later became CIBC.

Gore Bank (1870)

Bank of British Columbia (1901)

Halifax Banking Company (1903)

Merchants Bank of Prince Edward Island (1906)

Eastern Townships Bank (1912)

Bank of Hamilton (1924)

Standard Bank of Canada (1928)

(formed 1867)
Imperial Bank of Canada

Niagara District Bank (1875)

Weyburn Security Bank (1931)

Barclays Bank (Canada) (1956)

(formed 1875)

Wood Gundy (1988)

President's Choice Financial (1998; Simplii Financial from 2017)

President’s Choice Financial, commonly shortened to PC Financial, is the financial service brand of the Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw Companies.

Simplii Financial

Simplii Financial is the direct banking brand of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). It was founded in 2017 following CIBC and the supermarket chain Loblaw Companies mutually deciding to end their 20-year joint venture of providing consumer banking services under the President's Choice Financial brand.

FirstCaribbean International Bank (2006)

Atlantic Trust (2013)

Privatebancorp (2016, later renamed CIBC Bank USA)

(amalgamation 1961)


Commerce Building (c. 1930), now known as Commerce Court North in Toronto BankofCommerce1930.jpg
Commerce Building (c. 1930), now known as Commerce Court North in Toronto

William McMaster founded the Canadian Bank of Commerce which opened on May 15, 1867, in Toronto as competition for the Bank of Montreal; by 1874 it had 24 branches.

William McMaster Canadian politician

William McMaster was a Canadian wholesaler, Senator and banker in the 19th century. A director of the Bank of Montreal from 1864 to 1867, he was a driving force behind the creation of the Canadian Bank of Commerce of which he served as the founding president from 1867 to his death in 1887.

The Imperial Bank of Canada opened in Toronto on March 18, 1875, founded by former Commerce Vice-president Henry Stark Howland.

By the end of 1895, the Canadian Bank of Commerce had grown to 58 branches and the Imperial Bank of Canada to 18.

The 1896 gold strike in the Yukon prompted the Dominion Government to ask the Canadian Bank of Commerce to open a branch in Dawson City. Acquisitions in the 1920s caused the Commerce Bank to become one of the strongest branch networks in Canada with over 700 local branches; and the bank opened international branches in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad during the same period.

Wood, Gundy & Company, the precursor of CIBC's investment banking arm, opened its doors on February 1, 1905. During World War I, it took a prominent and active role in the organization of Victory Loans.

The Canadian Bank of Commerce opened its new head office in Toronto in 1931. An observation gallery on the 32nd floor attracted visitors who could get an aerial view of the city.

In 1936, the Commerce was the first Canadian bank to establish a personal loans department.

Following World War II, both banks opened new branches. Although the banks had been barred from the mortgage business since 1871, the Canadian government now called upon them to provide mortgage services. So, in 1954, Canadian banks started offering mortgages for new construction.

Forming Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

In 1960, Imperial chairman Stuart Mackersy approached Neil McKinnon, the president of the Commerce, with a proposal to merge the two banks. This followed a decade of expansion in the Canadian economy and Canada's capitalization of the industrialization of its natural resources. They quickly reached a deal between the two banks.

The newly merged CIBC commissioned a new logo to commemorate its 100th year of operation. The "chevron" logo was in use until 1994. CIBC logo 1966.png
The newly merged CIBC commissioned a new logo to commemorate its 100th year of operation. The "chevron" logo was in use until 1994.

On June 1, 1961, the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged to form the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce with over 1,200 branches across Canada. The new bank possessed the greatest resources and the most branches of any bank in the country.

In 1964, the bank operated a floating branch using the passenger vessel MV Jean Brilliant along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, [11] billed as the only floating branch in Canada for 5000 customers.

Following the merger, the new bank commissioned a new head office. While planning to retain Commerce Court North, the bank hired architect I. M. Pei to design a three-building complex. The result was Commerce Court consisting of a landscaped courtyard complementing the existing building and included the newly built 786 ft (240 m) Commerce Court West. When completed in 1973, the 57-storey building was the tallest in Canada, and the largest stainless-steel-clad building in the world.

In 1967, both Canada and CIBC celebrated their centenaries and CIBC was the only chartered bank to have a branch on-site at Expo 67. Also at this time computerization began to change banking services and the Yonge and Bloor branch in Toronto was the first Canadian bank branch to update customer bank books via computer. This also marked the introduction of inter-branch banking. Before the decade was out, CIBC had introduced the first 24-hour cash dispenser, which would eventually become the ATM.

Changes to federal and provincial regulations ending the separation of banks, investment dealers, trust companies and insurance companies came in 1987. CIBC quickly took advantage of this and became the first Canadian bank to operate an investment dealer, CIBC Securities, offering services to the public.

In 1988, CIBC acquired a majority interest in Wood Gundy which brought a well-respected name and reputation in underwriting. Shortly thereafter, the corporation merged Wood Gundy and CIBC Securities under the name CIBC Wood Gundy which became CIBC Oppenheimer in 1997 [12] and later, CIBC World Markets.

In 1992, CIBC introduced automated telephone banking; in 1995 the bank launched its website, and shortly thereafter began offering banking services online. In 1998, CIBC joined with Loblaws to create President's Choice Financial which it launched in 28 Ottawa area stores.


CIBC agreed to merge with the Toronto-Dominion Bank in 1998. However the Government of Canada, at the recommendation of then Finance Minister Paul Martin, blocked the merger – as well as another proposed by the Bank of Montreal with the Royal Bank of Canada – as not in the best interest of Canadians. [13]

CIBC sold its corporate and purchasing credit card business to U.S. Bank Canada in October 2006 which joined it with business charge cards it previously acquired from Royal Bank of Canada.

In 2006, the stock ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange changed from BCM to CM to bring it in line with the ticker symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In December 2006, CIBC acquired majority control of its publicly held joint venture FirstCaribbean International Bank for just over US$1 billion, (Bds$2 billion), when it purchased the 43.7% stake owned by Barclays Bank. [14] CIBC rebranded the division CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in 2011. [15]

On February 12, 2009, the Trinidad and Tobago Express reported that CIBC was pursuing discussions to buy CL Financial's stake in the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. [16] As part of a "bail out" agreement of CL Financial by the government of Trinidad and Tobago during the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009, the corporation was required to sell Republic and other assets. As of February 2011, CL Financial had yet to agree to a sale. [17]

In February, 2010 CIBC became the first chartered bank in Canada to launch a mobile banking iPhone App. It surpassed 100,000 downloads in just over one month following launch, with over 1 million client logins to CIBC Mobile Banking since its introduction. [18] [19]

Four months later, the bank announced it signed a deal to buy a C$2.1-billion credit card portfolio from Citigroup's Citibank Canada MasterCard business. [20]

Finally in October of that year, CIBC announced that it would be the first bank in Canada to introduce the internationally used Visa-branded debit card. [21]

In April 2013, CIBC reached an agreement with Invesco to acquire Atlantic Trust, the company's wealth management unit for US$210 million. [22]

CIBC announced in June 2016 that it would acquire the Chicago-based commercial bank PrivateBancorp for US$3.8 billion. [23] The sale completed in June 2017 and in August PrivateBank announced it would rebrand itself as CIBC Bank USA. [24]

In April 2017, CIBC, announced it would move its headquarters to the Bay Park Centre under development by Hines Interests Limited Partnership and Ivanhoé Cambridge. Under the terms of its lease, the complex became CIBC Square. [25]

Notable corporate activities and international operations

North America

Caribbean and the West Indies

CIBC FirstCaribbean branch on Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in Bridgetown, St. Michael, Barbados (2011).JPG
CIBC FirstCaribbean branch on Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados

In 1920, Canadian Bank of Commerce established its first branches in the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados and in Kingston, Jamaica. The same year it also opened branches in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Havana, Cuba. Its first branch in Mexico City opened in 1910. In 1957, the bank opened a branch in Nassau, the Bahamas, and in the subsequent years expanded its operations in Jamaica.

Between 1963 and 1988, the bank expanded its branch network in Barbados opened branches in St. Vincent, Antigua, and St Lucia. In 1988, CIBC sold 45% of its shares in CIBC Jamaica via a public share issue. Between 1993 and 1996, the bank restructured its holdings in the Caribbean, with the incorporation of CIBC West Indies Holdings Limited and CIBC Caribbean Limited. CIBC West Indies Holdings then sold 30% of its shares to the public. In 1997, CIBC issued 5 million shares in CIBC Bahamas Limited to the public.

On October 31, 2001, Barclays and CIBC agreed to combine their Caribbean operations to establish FirstCaribbean International Bank. CIBC bought Barclays' stake in 2006 to give it control of approximately 92% of FirstCaribbean, which was rebranded as CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank. [15] In 2010, CIBC acquired a 22.5% equity of Butterfield Bank of Bermuda. [29]

Restructuring and outsourcing


Li Ka Shing, Hong Kong billionaire was the largest foreign shareholder in the bank for over two decades, but in early 2005 he sold his portion (est. C$1.2 billion) to establish a Canadian charity, the Li Ka Shing Foundation. CIBC was Mr. Li's choice for financing many of his Canadian ventures, like Husky Energy. Mr. Li had reportedly backed personal and commercial banking head Holger Kluge to succeed Al Flood as CEO of CIBC in 1999.

Corporate governance

CIBC is well known for its publicized battles of succession to the top position of president and CEO (formerly styled chairman and CEO until 2003 when the positions were separated). When Al Flood became CEO, one of his first acts was to fire his chief rival Paul Cantor. In 1999, the company saw a competition between Wood Gundy (now CIBC World Markets) chief John S. Hunkin and Personal/Commercial banking head Holger Kluge, with Kluge retiring after Hunkin became chairman. In February 2004, Hunkin forced his friend and heir-apparent, David Kassie, to resign as chairman and CEO of World Markets after several scandals in the US. Both men had waived their bonuses in 2002 after that year produced the worst results in the history of the bank. Kassie afterwards founded Genuity Capital and was alleged to have raided 20 key employees from World Markets for his new startup, causing CIBC to file suit. [31] Gerald T. McCaughey became Kassie's replacement heading World Markets and in February 2004, was promoted to president and chief operating officer, assuring his succession as CEO. [32] Shortly after assuming his position, McCaughey reportedly dismissed Jill Denham, vice chair of retail markets and a potential rival for the CEO post. Denham was reportedly a close ally of Hunkin and Kassie, and McCaughey wanted to build his own senior executive team. [33]

Current senior executive team:

Current members of the board of directors: [34]


As a founding partner of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club, CIBC was the team's official bank until selling its ownership stake in 2000. [35]

CIBC partnered with Air Canada in 1991 to offer credit cards as part of the airline's loyalty program, Aeroplan. In 2009, the program announced that a new agreement with Toronto-Dominion Bank would be effective January 1, 2014. [36]

As part of its purchase of MasterCard from Citibank Canada in 2010, CIBC acquired the co-branded Petro-Canada rewards credit card and continues to jointly market the card. [20]

On October 27, 2011, CIBC announced a partnership with the PANAM Toronto 2015 Organizing Committee to become lead partner of the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games [37]

CIBC is an industry partner of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. [38]

Settlements and controversies


On December 22, 2003, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined CIBC US$80 million for its role in the manipulation of Enron financial statements. This consists of $37.5 million to repay ill-gotten gains, a $37.5 million penalty and $5 million in interest. The money is intended to be returned to Enron fraud victims pursuant to the Fair Fund provisions of Section 308(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. [39]

The SEC also sued three of CIBC's executives. CIBC Executive Vice President Daniel Ferguson and former CIBC executive director Mark Wolf agreed to settle for US$563,000 and US$60,000, respectively. Ian Schottlaender, former managing director in CIBC's corporate leveraged finance group in New York initially contested the charges [40] but on July 12, 2004 he agreed to pay US$528,750 as well as be barred from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company for a period of five years. [41] Under these agreements the individuals neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.

The SEC complaint charges that "CIBC and the three executives with having helped Enron to mislead its investors through a series of complex structured finance transactions over a period of several years preceding Enron's bankruptcy." The agreement reached between the SEC and CIBC permanently enjoins CIBC from violating the antifraud, books and records, and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws. [39] [40]

On August 2, 2005, CIBC paid US$2.4 billion to settle a class action lawsuit brought by a group of pension funds and investment managers, including the University of California, which claims that "systematic fraud by Enron and its officers led to the loss of billions and the collapse of the company." [42]

Market timing

On July 25, 2005 CIBC confirmed it would pay US$125 million to settle an investigation into its role in the 2003 Mutual-fund scandal. Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said, "by knowingly financing customers' late trading and market timing, as well as providing financing in amounts far greater than the law allows, CIHI and World Markets boosted their customers' trading profits at the expense of long-term mutual fund shareholders." [43] Under the settlement, CIBC neither admitted nor denied the allegations. [44]

Visa cardholders

On August 27, 2004, CIBC confirmed that it would settle a class-action lawsuit on behalf of CIBC Visa cardholders. The plaintiffs alleged that the conversion of foreign-currency transactions resulted in an undisclosed or inadequately disclosed mark-up. After approval by an Ontario Superior Court judge, CIBC announced October 15, 2004, that the settlement would result in the bank paying C$13.85 million to its cardholders, $1 million to the United Way, $1.65 million to the Class Action Fund of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and $3 million in legal fees. The bank also announced that it has not admitted any liability and is settling to avoid further litigation with its cardholders. [45]

Voluntary refund of erroneous charges

On May 20, 2004, CIBC announced that it would refund C$24 million to some of its customers as a result of erroneous overdraft and mortgage charges which were discovered in the course of an internal review. "This is being done as part of CIBC's effort to correct its error and to ensure that it distributes to customers all of the money it received in error," the bank said. [46]

In a similar incident, CIBC announced April 27, 2006 that it's refunding an additional C$27 million to about 200,000 clients who were overcharged for certain overdraft fees and other borrowing transactions, some of which date back to 1993. In cases where clients were undercharged, the bank decided not to seek reimbursement. [47]



On April 18, 2005 the Privacy Commissioner of Canada expressed disappointment in the way CIBC dealt with incidents involving the bank misdirecting faxes containing customers' personal information. [48] One involved misdirecting faxes to a scrap yard operator in West Virginia from 2001 to 2004. The misdirected faxes contained the social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, and detailed bank account data of several hundred bank customers. [49]

The second incident involved a Dorval businessman and allegedly took place from 2000 to 2004. In both cases, the commissioner noted that the bank did not inform the affected clients, whose personal information was compromised, until the incidents became public and an investigation was underway. [50]

Within days of reports by CTV News and The Globe and Mail , CIBC management announced a directive that banned employees from using fax machines to transmit any documents containing confidential customer information. [51]


On January 18, 2007, CIBC Asset Management announced that the personal information of about 470,000 current and former clients of Talvest Mutual Funds, a CIBC subsidiary, had gone missing. The information may have included client names, addresses, signatures, dates of birth, bank account numbers, beneficiary information and/or Social Insurance Numbers. [52] The incident stemmed from the disappearance of a hard drive containing information on "the process used to open and administer" customer accounts as it was traveling between the bank's Montreal and Toronto offices. [53] The Privacy Commissioner of Canada stated, "Although I appreciate that the bank notified us of this incident and that it is working cooperatively with my Office, I am nevertheless deeply troubled, especially given the magnitude of this breach, which puts at risk the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians." She immediately launched a privacy investigation. [54]

Employee overtime

In June 2007, Dara Fresco, a Toronto teller, named CIBC in a $600 million class-action lawsuit regarding the lack of overtime pay to its customer service staff. Fresco v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is a class action brought on behalf of current and former non-management, non-unionized employees of CIBC in Canada who are or were tellers or other front-line customer service employees working at CIBC retail branch offices across Canada. The lawsuit alleges that class members are assigned heavier workloads than could be completed within their standard working hours. They were required or permitted to work overtime to meet the demands of their jobs and CIBC failed to pay for the overtime work in direct contravention of the Canada Labour Code under which they are regulated. [55]

The Ontario Superior Court dismissed the suit June 18, 2012, stating the evidence '"provides no basis in fact that there is a systemic practice of unpaid overtime at CIBC."' [56]

An employee of the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) filed a similar suit which the Superior Court certified. Fresco and Scotiabank each appealed their adverse, and contradictory, rulings and the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that both cases could proceed. [57]

Both banks appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada which on March 21, 2013, denied their requests and allowed the lawsuits to proceed. [58] The cases are awaiting further action as of late 2013.

Significant buildings

See also


  1. In some materials CIBC claims 1867, the founding year of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, as its year of establishment

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