Bank Institution Logos

What is a financial institution number?

A financial institution (FI) number is the 3-digit number that identifies your financial institution. These numbers are used today to identify a financial institution when processing a cheque, performing a bank trasfer or any other electronic payment.

Current financial institution numbers are:

Bank of Montreal - 001
Bank of Nova Scotia - 002
Royal Bank - 003
TD Canada Trust - 004
National Bank of Canada - 006
CIBC - 010

Here is how the number appears on a Canadian cheque.

It is encoded along the bottom of a cheque in a special font called MICR E-13B using magnetic ink.

Cheque Coding Example

The first 3 digits are the cheque number, followed by a 5 digit transit number (identifying the specific bank branch), then comes a 3 digit institution number (identifying the bank) and finally your account number.

Financial institution numbers came into being by Bank Act that eliminated hand countersignatures on banknotes and mandated a corporate logo and identifying number be imprinted on the banknote at the same time as the signatures. Institution numbers were assigned by "seniority" or in the order that the banks of the time received their charter. Thus the Bank of Montreal, Canada's oldest bank has number 001, or as it appeared on early banknotes, a "Saltire over 1". Here are some logos / bank numbers as they appear on chartered banknotes:

Montreal Logo  Bank of Montreal; Saltire over 1.

BNS Logo  Bank of Nova Scotia; Heraldic Lion in Shield above 2.

Toronto Logo   Bank of Toronto; BT Monogram in Shield above 3.

BCN Logo  Banque Canadienne Nationale; Beaver over 6

Royal Bank Logo  Royal Bank; Crown above 11. On earlier banknotes this was enclosed in a circle. The circle was omitted on the later notes.

Dominion Logo  Dominion Bank;  Maple Leaf above 12.

Imperial Saltire Logo  Imperial Bank; Saltire in Circle over 17 or Imperial Heraldic Lion Logo Heraldic Lion in Circle over 17.

Barclay's Bank Logo  Barclays Bank; Eagle in Shield below 22.

Other bank numbers found on chartered banknotes but not shown here are:

Molsons Bank; Arms over 3.
Merchants Bank; Sheaf over 7.
Banque Provinciale du Canada; Beaver on Maple Leaf to the left of 8.
Union Bank; Anchor in Circle over 9.
Canadian Bank of Commerce; Caduceus below 10.
La Banque Nationale; Maple Leaf over 10.
Bank of Hamilton; Beehive over 13.
Standard Bank; Heraldic Lion and Standard over 14.
Banque d'Hochelaga; Beaver over 15.

When the La Banque Nationale and the Banque d'Hochelaga merged the logos also merged forming the Beaver and Maple Leaf of  Banque Canadienne Nationale.

The bank numbers also found their way onto bank cheques. Note the 14 above 315 within triangle on this Standard Bank cheque. The 14 identifies the Standard Bank and the 315 identifies the Caledonia, Ontario branch. The 315 is essentially a "transit number". Note the Heraldic Lion on the left of the cheque which is identical to that of the logo used on Standard Bank banknotes.

Standard Bank Cheque

On November 1. 1979, the Provincial Bank of Canada (008), the Unity Bank of Canada (018),
and the Bank Canadian National, merged to form the National Bank of Canada (006). Institution
Numbers 008 and 018 were gradually replaced by 006