Toronto-based online brokerage Questrade is applying for a federal banking licence, paving the way for it to open an online bank.
In a move first picked up by the Financial Post, Questrade has given notice of a plan to file an application to the federal government for a "letters patent" that would incorporate "Quest Bank".
The firm has already filed a trademark application for Quest Bank, opening up the possibility of a move into a host of financial services, such as investment banking, insurance and a credit card loyalty programme.
Launched in 1999, Questrade offers online investing services, but is facing increased competition from US firms and fintech startups with low commission rates.
Earlier this year, the company gave a hint of its diversification plans when it bought Community Trust Co, which can take deposits and make loans.