There are obvious differences between banking in the United States and Canada, but one stands out: Canada's same-day check clearing requirement means that a deposit made in British Columbia on the west coast could be in a customer's account that evening in Newfoundland more than 3,000 miles to the east.

The impact of how checks are handled in Canada shouldn't be overstated. But John E. Cleghorn, chairman and chief executive of Royal Bank of Canada, said check clearing can illuminate some of the other differences between the two countries' banking systems.

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