Royal Bank entered the 1990s financially sound and organizationally strong, despite the severe economic challenges of the 1980s. Opportunities provided by financial services regulatory reform were seized decisively, resulting in key strategic acquisitions - Dominion Securities (1988), Royal Trust and Voyageur Insurance Company (1993) – serving as the blueprint for our transformation from retail bank to global financial services provider. In 2001, Royal Bank launched its global master brand, RBC, to further exemplify our evolution.
Continued deregulation of the financial services industry also brought new product possibilities. The ensuing two decades provided unprecedented changes to, and heightened competition in, the financial services industry. We embraced the new frontier, guided by two mutually reinforcing strategic thrusts - providing top-flight customer service and improving profitability.
Royal Bank turned to its most critical competitive advantage, its employees, to build deeper client relationships. In parallel, the benefits of enhanced employee satisfaction and retention were recognized as essential to delivering a superior client experience. To this end, employees were provided with expanded opportunities for training and career development and offered workplace flexibility options to balance the escalating demands of both career and home. The 1990s also witnessed a strong focus on workplace diversity and gender equity. Today, our work/family/life/gender-gap and diversity policies and programs are widely acknowledged as leading-edge and Royal Bank is continuously recognized as one of Canada’s best workplaces.
The Internet age amplified expectations for anytime, anywhere financial services. Royal Bank drew upon its longstanding leadership role, dating back to the 1960s, in developing innovative technology solutions, and leveraged strategic alliances to deliver new e-Business solutions. In 2004, Royal Bank reinforced the Client First focus with a major organizational realignment and intensified efforts to simplify process to bring employees closer to clients.
Back in 1869, the upstart Merchants’ Bank of Halifax was focused on local commerce but instinctively knew that long-term success meant gaining access to a diversity of clients and exposure to other business cycles - in today’s terms, a balanced business model. These instincts served us well over time. Today, Royal Bank of Canada is an iconic brand with leadership standing both in Canada and globally - still earning the right to be our clients’ first choice.