TORONTO -- Equitable Group Inc. launched EQ Bank on Thursday as a "completely digital" way to save, pay bills and earn interest.

It's covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp., which provides protection to bank customers up to certain limits.

Equitable (TSX:EQB) counts itself as Canada's ninth-largest Schedule 1 bank, with $17 billion in assets under management and 500 employees across the country -- tiny compared with any of the country's Big Six.

It says the branchless EQ Bank is part of a growing trend in financial technology.

EQ Bank's first product is a savings account that provides common types of banking services from a desktop computer or mobile device and pays annualized interest at 3.0 per cent.