The Canadian-based Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which has a large number of local shareholders, recently released its 2018 annual report boasting of profits showing a 4.7 per cent increase over the previous year, but nowhere in the report is TT’s contribution to that success. Local shareholders remain disappointed that the local operations did not merit any mention.
The bank also released the results of its earnings report for the second quarter of the 2018-2019 fiscal year with figures that reinforces RBC’s position as an international leader in financial services, with more than 84,000 employees in 36 countries and territories around the world. The Caribbean accounts for almost 3,000 of that employee base while the total number in TT is more than 1,600.
Be that as it may, local management speaking with Business Day pointed out that in terms of local numbers, the bank would let the financial reports speak for themselves. “But on a more macro-level,” RBC TT managing director Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed said, “Our operations here are the nexus of our entire Caribbean network, which, along with our business in Canada, forms our Personal and Commercial Banking Group.
“Further,” she said, “here in Trinidad, our specialised centres of excellence bring together talent from across the region to help offer simpler, faster and better financial solutions to our more than one million clients across the Caribbean markets, ultimately delivering the premier banking experience for clients.
“Additionally,” she pointed out, “clients here can take pride in knowing their hard-earned money is backed by one of the largest, most stable banks in the world. RBC employees are able to leverage the talents of our financial professionals working in multiple lines of business in all corners of the world: from Toronto to Trinidad, from New York to London, from Paris to Zurich, from Brussels to Beijing and all points between.”
Given all that was said, the question that still remained to be answered is: How does RBC stand in the current scenario in TT with all these improvements? Her answer: “We are laying the groundwork to continue to be strong and stable for the future."
“We have a long history in TT and as we implement more digital services and upgrade more branches to our new digitally-enabled models, we expect to see more clients take advantage of the choice and convenience technology and innovation offer,” she added.
This led to the question of how the bank would deal with some of the innovations being considered?
“Our world is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. It seems every day there is new technology, more automation and better ways of doing business.
“At RBC,” she continued, “We want to leverage technology, more automation and innovation to bring our bank closer to our clients. We have a world-class digital team at RBC. They constantly work to see what new products or services we can incorporate to better serve our clients."
Camacho-Mohammed, in highlighting their technology, said RBC’s digital platform and mobile apps were industry-leading. She gave this example, “On your phone, you can perform almost any transaction that you could do over the counter inside a branch – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often for free and without needing to stand in line. Our ATM network is more advanced and has more features than ever before, giving our clients another convenient way to interact with us. However, we don’t want to stop there. Our app has great potential and more features are coming online all the time.”
In spite of these innovations, long lines still exist at the branches belying the fact that the new way of doing business at RBC has, so far, been successful. Camacho-Mohammed countered saying: “Interestingly, long lines are becoming less and less common. While waiting in line has been the norm in Caribbean banking halls historically – and that’s not limited to RBC – usage trends show our clients are changing their banking habits.”
“It’s up to us, as a leading financial institution, to support them in the change. That is why we are introducing more technology and innovative service solutions to support our clients and ensure they are confident in their banking flexibility while having more time to be in their homes and communities doing what they love.”
That apart, the bank was pleased with how its clients were embracing the bank’s digital banking platform, its mobile apps and its automatic teller machine (ATM) network in TT and even across the Caribbean. “These channels provide greater convenience and flexibility when clients need to access banking services.”
Continuing, the MD said, “Across our Caribbean markets, clients in the Dutch Caribbean, TT, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas are particularly active when it comes to banking online. For those still hesitating to make the transition to digital or mobile banking, our client advisers in-branch or on the phone in our advice centre are happy to address any questions or issues they might have. Clients only have to ask, and we’ll be there to help.”
Asked about the various scams, especially at ATMs, which affect the bank’s client base, Camacho-Mohammed had this to say, “Safeguarding the security of our systems and the confidentiality of our client’s information is always a top priority. Criminal entities focus their resources on adapting to and overcoming new security measures as they emerge. It is a constant and unending threat to all businesses and especially those who maintain personal information or financial assets.”
Going further, she said, “RBC, like other secure entities, works diligently to have the highest level of security and to secure our clients’ assets and information. We have rigorous, up-to-date security and technological safeguards to ensure RBC is well protected and our clients have access to our services without interruption.”
As a matter of fact, she allayed many fears by saying RBC was partnering with many fraud management experts, local authorities’ fraud units and other stakeholders to ensure the bank’s clients’ hard-earned money is protected.