Ontario credit union Meridian has announced that it will launch a national bank to challenge the big five.

The lender’s CEO Bill Maurin says that he is confident in launching Meridian Bank following the credit union’s research which shows “there is a clear desire in the marketplace for an innovative digital bank that offers a true full-service alternative to the big banks.”

Meridian Bank will offer its services online outside Ontario from 2018 and will be owned by the members of the Meridian Credit Union. Although it says that its five-year plan does not include opening branches, it may consider doing so in key strategic locations.

Meridian hit the headlines in April 2015 when it launched a mortgage product at a 1.49 per cent rate.

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