Business and Commercial Banking
Business and Commercial Banking provides value-added financial solutions and advice to help foster and grow businesses. We offer a wide range of lending, leasing, deposit and transaction products and services to small and medium-sized businesses and commercial, farming and agriculture clients.
In 2005, we increased our sales force across Canada to better serve our business clients. This included doubling our small business sales force and extending its capability to address both the business and personal needs of small business owners.
We also streamlined processes to make it easier for clients to do business with us. The new business account opening process facilitates same day account opening in any branch across Canada. In addition, clients seeking a small business credit product are now able to apply over the telephone.
Cards and Payment Solutions
The Cards and Payment Solutions business provides a wide array of credit cards and related payment products and solutions.
In February 2005, coffee-lovers in Canada began taking advantage of a new hybrid card, combining an RBC Visa card with the popular, reloadable Starbucks Card. The Starbucks Duetto Visa Card – the first of its kind in Canada – offers consumers the ability to pay, reload, earn and redeem rewards with one convenient card.
Our recognition of the increased frequency of travel to Asia led us to partner with Cathay Pacific and introduce the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Card, the only credit card that allows Canadians to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles every time they use their Visa card. In addition, RBC and Esso extended their long-standing alliance by offering members of both RBC Rewards and Esso Extra the ability to transfer blocks of points between the two card loyalty programs.
In March 2005, we also enhanced the client offering of our RBC Business Avion card by making it more affordable for business owners to separate their business from personal spending and enabling them to consolidate their RBC Rewards points from both business and personal purchases.
In June 2005, we became the first Canadian financial institution to process an Interac Online transaction. The introduction of Interac Online provides consumers with another option to pay for purchases over the Internet through a direct debit to their bank account.
Wealth Management provides investment and trust products and services through our branch network of 9,000 licensed mutual fund salespeople, as well as through full-service and self-directed brokerage, asset management, trust services, investment counselling and private banking.
During the first quarter of 2005, RBC Asset Management, the investment manager of RBC Funds, achieved more than $1 billion in long-term net sales for the first time in its history. Strong advisor and client demand for our products across multiple distribution channels has driven us to be the industry leader in sales of long-term mutual funds for eight consecutive quarters since the beginning of 2004.
In January, we launched the RBC O’Shaughnessy International Equity Fund, developed by well-known investment manager and author Jim O’Shaughnessy. The RBC O’Shaughnessy International Equity Fund is the fourth in the RBC O’Shaughnessy series, available to investors in Canada exclusively through RBC Asset Management.
In the last quarter of 2005, we introduced RBC Managed Portfolios, an investment service offered exclusively through our financial planners, who are located in bank branches, and mobile investment specialists. This service gives clients an investment solution customized to both their risk and return objectives and the size of their portfolios.
Our full-service brokerage business, RBC Dominion Securities, began offering a Global Portfolio Series – providing clients with smaller investment accounts access to world-class investment solutions in a portfolio tailored to their investment objectives.
Our trust services area launched the “Agent for Executor” service for our clients who require assistance in discharging their multiple responsibilities as executors of wills and estates.
Global Insurance offers a wide range of life, creditor, health, travel, home and auto insurance products and services to individual and business clients in Canada and the U.S. as well as reinsurance for clients around the world.
In 2005 we responded to clients who said they wanted to meet face to face with an insurance advisor for home, auto, travel and life insurance products by opening our first two new concept multi-line insurance outlets. Under the RBC Insurance banner, each outlet is located next to an RBC Royal Bank branch, one in Scarborough, Ontario and the other in Hamilton, Ontario. RBC Insurance plans to open several more offices near RBC Royal Bank branches over the next year.
We also made several changes to enhance client experience and convenience by making greater use of online tools and services. RBC Insurance provided the opportunity for online discounts for some home and auto insurance products. We also expanded our online quoting services and underwriting capabilities for home and auto insurance, including giving clients the ability to view their policy and billing status, change their billing information, view their policy documents and access a glossary of terms used in our policies.