Bank of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia, founded in 1832 in Halifax, is Canada's second-oldest chartered bank. Its first branches were in the Maritimes, but it expanded into Winnipeg and Minnesota in the 1880s as the Canadian Pacific Railway was built. Between 1883 and 1919 it amalgamated with smaller banks, beginning with the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island and ending with the Bank of Ottawa. It was the first Canadian bank to operate in the Caribbean, opening a branch in Jamaica in 1889; it also established a branch in London in 1920.

During the 1960s the bank again diversified internationally; it now operates over 200 branches and subsidiaries in 44 countries, and has 1460 branches and offices in Canada. It offers a variety of financial services, including gold and silver trading, mortgage loans, leasing, real-estate and trust services. Now known familiarly as "Scotiabank," it pioneered several financial services to simplify banking for the ordinary consumer.

In 1981 it became the first Canadian bank to offer complete branch services in Japan, and it also participated in a test of the business applications of satellite communications. Although the general office was moved to Toronto in 1900, the head office is still in Halifax. Scotiabank now operates in all areas of the financial marketplace - with its own life insurance company, brokerage house and trust company - through a number of purchases, including Montreal Trustco in 1994. At its fiscal year end in October 1997, it had a net income of $1.5 billion, assets of $195.2 billion (ranking 4th among financial institutions in Canada) and over 38 000 employees worldwide.