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Bank towers are shown from Bay Street in Toronto's financial district, on Wednesday, June 16, 2010.Adrien Vecz

There are many ways to look at Canadian banks: They can be seen as profit-making machines, financially diversified behemoths or dividend-dynamos.

But RBC Dominion Securities has included several additional angles in its most recent Canadian Bank Chart Book, released on Tuesday. Here are five intriguing facts that should delight investors who own all, or some, of the Big Six banks.

1. Since 1957, Canadian bank stocks have produced annual gains 74 per cent of the time, for an average median return of 10.4 per cent (including dividends).

Long-term investors should embrace these two numbers. Bank stocks are sensitive to economic growth, housing-market activity, interest-rate changes, corporate deal-making and even oil prices.

That's a lot of moving parts. But investors who can tune out the noise – or perhaps buy on dips – are usually rewarded.

The takeaway: The Big Six bank stocks have endured their share of tumbles (2008 being the most recent), but holding on has paid off handsomely.

2. Bank stocks have outperformed the Canadian benchmark index in 69 per cent of years since 1957, after including dividends.

If Canadian bank stocks were a mutual fund, the fund would be turning heads as a remarkably consistent index-beater that puts most traditional mutual funds to shame.

According to Standard & Poor's, 75 per cent of Canadian equity mutual funds underperformed the S&P/TSX Composite Index over the past five years, meaning that just 25 per cent of funds managed to outperform.

The takeaway: If you want to outperform the Canadian benchmark index (and most mutual funds), banks are a solid bet.

3. Bank stocks tend to produce their best returns near the end of each year.

RBC crunched numbers going back to 1980 – 38 years – and found that bank stocks tend to post their best returns in October, November and December: Stocks in these three months gained an average of 2.31 per cent, 2.17 per cent and 1.40 per cent, respectively.

Compare these gains with an average loss of 0.82 per cent in June and a loss of 0.39 per cent in January.

Relative to the broader index, the banks' best months change slightly. Bank stocks outperformed the index the most in September, October and November – by 1.30 per cent, 2.12 per cent and 0.88 per cent, respectively.

Either way, bank stocks did best toward the end of each year. Many investors will dismiss this trend as trivia, not unlike stats that show the Dow Jones Industrial Average tends to perform poorly on Mondays.

But there's a takeaway here: If bank stocks are struggling early in the year, patience pays off.

4. The best years for bank stocks have produced huge gains. The worst years aren't so bad.

The 10 best years range from a 32-per-cent gain in 1972 to a 76-per-cent gain in 1968, for an average of more than 47 per cent for data going back to 1957.

But the 10 worst years are equally impressive because most of the downturns are relatively slight. Okay, there was 2008, the worst of the worst, when bank stocks slid 31 per cent. But this performance wasn't any worse than the broader index: The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 33 per cent that year.

And most of the other bad years for bank stocks showed fairly modest declines. In 2015, bank stocks fell all of 4 per cent, the 10th worst year over the past 60 years, according to RBC; in 2007, bank stocks fell 7 per cent.

The average decline for all 10 years in the worst-list is just 11.6 per cent.

The takeaway: The potential upside to bank stocks is huge, especially following a year when there was a big sell-off. The downside is usually limited.

5. The banks' weighting in the S&P/TSX Composite Index is at a record high of 24.1 per cent.

That's well above the average weighting of 18 per cent. But the banks' weighting in the index has varied widely over the years. It hit a low of just more than 10 per cent in 1999/2000, when banks were neglected in favour of technology stocks such as Nortel Networks Ltd.

Their weighting subsequently surged to about 22 per cent by 2003, fell below 16 per cent during the financial crisis in 2009 and has been recovering ever since.

Of course, today's high bank weighting isn't owing solely to the strong performance of bank stocks, which has lifted their valuation.

Just as important, other sectors in the S&P/TSX have been struggling: The energy sector is down 40 per cent since 2014 and materials stocks are down 48 per cent since 2011.

The takeaway: If you are an index investor, you are making a big bet on the Big Six Canadian banks right now.

Is that a problem? Given that banks have been one of the few bright lights in the Canadian market in recent years, probably not.

Full disclosure: The author owns units in an exchange-traded fund that holds all Big Six Canadian bank stocks.

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