Why More Banks Are Extending Hours, Opening On Weekends

With the growing popularity of online and mobile banking, it stands to reason that branch banking hours should be on the decline.  A decade ago, full service branches were being replaced by smaller satellite branches and ATM-only locations.

But banks are staying open longer to meet the needs of our busy lives, offering extended weekday hours and opening on weekends.

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Sunday Banking

After opening their first Sunday branches in 2007, CIBC has ramped up their approach by doubling the number of branches open on Sundays – over 100 branches – and opening another 92 branches on Saturdays to give them more than 600 Saturday banking locations.

TD Canada Trust started Sunday banking two years ago as part of a national strategy and now has the most Sunday hours branches in Canada with over 400 locations.

Getting Face to Face Advice

While the majority of everyday banking can be done online, when it comes to making big financial decisions we’re still looking for face-to-face advice.  For many of us, that means visiting the bank after work or on the weekend.

“Baby boomers, new immigrants are looking for advice, but it’s difficult for them to come in during the week,” said Larry Tomei, a senior vice-president at CIBC.

Related: Can you trust advice from your bank?

TD research shows that 62 per cent of Canadians find it hard to get errands done Monday to Friday.  Four-in-ten run errands on weekends, so providing banking services to customers when it suits them is essential.

We’re also more comfortable performing certain banking activities like signing a mortgage, setting up a loan or buying investment products in person, rather than online or by phone.

In research released earlier this year from CIBC and Harris/Decima, only 49 per cent of Canadians had met with an advisor in the last 12 months.

“This speaks to the importance of advice and giving people greater access to having a conversation with an advisor”, said Tomei.

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Offering full service banking, seven days a week comes at a price, and not all of the big banks are on-board with this approach.   The only other major bank to operate on Sundays is Bank of Montreal, with 35 locations across Canada.

Tom Dyck, executive vice-president of branch banking at TD, said they’re not targeting any specific demographic, but being open on weekends and longer weekday hours is part of a national approach to offer customers more choice of when to do their banking.

“Weekends are a very important part of our business strategy,” said Dyck. “When we choose a Sunday branch location, we look at other businesses in the area that tend to be open on Saturdays and Sundays, which means there is traffic there and demand by our customers and that we should be open.”

Final Thoughts

I do most of my banking online, but I have taken advantage of extended banking hours recently when we bought our house and when we set up an RESP for our kids.  I definitely appreciated being able to come in later in the evening after work or on the weekend.

Do you need to bank during the evening or on weekends?

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  1. My Own Advisor on December 10, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Good post. No doubt “staying open” means more access and more access can translate into higher profits. Certainly looks that way from the latest earnings reports 🙂


    • Echo on December 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

      @Mark – I think the strategy used by TD and CIBC (and BMO, to a lesser extent) is not about catering to our busy lives but more about having the time to sell more products to seniors and new immigrants.

      Although I’m not sure how well it’s working if RBC and Scotia haven’t jumped on board.

  2. Joe on December 10, 2012 at 7:24 am

    This is why I love using a network of virtual banks. I’m not paying fees to subsidize a small portion of old people who need the baby blankets of a passbook and dealing with tellers. Plus I can bank at 6am or 11pm or on my BlackBerry while headed to work.

    • Echo on December 10, 2012 at 8:09 am

      @Joe – Like you, I didn’t see the need for full service banking but I was surprised how many times I went to TD in the last 12-18 months. Between the mortgage documents, RESP set-up (and subsequent switch to e-Series funds) and setting up my business account, I must have been in the branch eight or 10 times.

      To be fair, the service I received was very good and I don’t pay a cent of fees, other than the small opportunity cost to maintain a minimum balance.

    • Boomer on December 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      @Joe: Your comment gave me a chuckle. One branch I used to work at had many elderly customers. We set them all up with direct deposit for their pensions – mainly so they wouldn’t have to come to the bank in inclement weather.

      Sure enough, on pension payment day, we saw them all trudging through the snow drifts with their canes and walkers to make sure the money went into their account and – update their passbooks.

  3. Jerry on December 10, 2012 at 8:38 am

    This seems unnecessary. With all you can do online and I think it will lead to dissatisfaction for their workers. Being organized and planning is your assurance you can take care of your business – during the week.

  4. Fred Ziffel on December 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Apart from Christian heritage, there really is no reason why Sunday should not be a regular day of business. Other cultures have other days off, or none in particular.

  5. krantcents on December 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Be careful what you wish for! These extended hours cost money and the banks will want to recover these costs in higher fees. Businesses expand to make money!

  6. Big Cajun Man on December 11, 2012 at 7:07 am

    If I must go into the bank, I certainly appreciate having them open both days on the weekend, but I doubt there is much more “banking” going on. Like you, I do most of my banking on-line, and try to stay away from the mortar and brick establishments.

  7. James on December 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I used to wonder why banks aren’t open later at night. Who wants to take personal time off of work to go to the bank? Anyhow, that was fifteen years ago, you know, when a cellular phone was new. But now why even go to the bank at all. If you don’t have direct deposit or if you get a personal check, some banks let you take a pic and deposit it that way. I haven’t set foot in a bank for years. When I do go to the bank I use the ATM, it is faster and less hassle then seeing a teller. I have set up basic accounts, lines of credit, and past auto loans all online. I would want to talk with a person to set up some loans and open some accounts. I did go into the bank to set up my business accounts, and I would go in for a mortgage or any other long term commitment, just to be sure. Overall, I think that because online banking has become so popular and convenient they can afford to extend the office hours. Hey more jobs right, can’t go wrong there.

  8. My Wealth Desire (MWD) on December 13, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I think banking through online will save a lot on your side, you will save fuel, time and effort. It is very easy to manage your account using internet nowadays, right?

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