First, the Canadian economy and our financial institutions have benefited from certain elements of plain good public policy. For the past eleven years the Federal Government has been running surpluses aggregating over $100 billion. Accordingly, Canada’s economy and financial system are in a stronger position than most, going into this downturn.
Second, the national retail banking franchises of the Canadian banks provides them with a strong and stable funding base, less dependent on volatile wholesale funding. This is a huge asset in difficult times.
Third, we have benefited in Canada from a strong regulatory framework. Our banks are the most conservatively capitalized in the world.
Fourth, in Canada we have kept tighter control of our residential mortgage market.
Fifth and final, I believe Canada’s financial institutions have been inherently more risk averse than those in the U.S. and Europe.
Less cowboy capitalism and less bet the bank mentality. This more conservative approach over the years has served us well.