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Lost in Translation? RBC Breaks Down the Language Barrier for Newcomers

RBC makes it easier for newcomers to manage their finances in 180 ways

TORONTO, June 20, 2012 - Starting a new life in a new country can be an exciting experience, but not without its challenges; among these is language. To help newcomers overcome the language barrier, RBC is the first financial institution to offer a multi-language telephone service through its branch network that enables clients to go into their local branch and, with their personal banker, discuss their financial affairs via a three-way confidential conference call in their preferred language.

"We understand how critical communication is in our line of business and, as a client, the last thing you want when dealing with your finances is for details to get lost in translation," said Paul Sy, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC "Language is a common obstacle for newcomers and we are breaking down this barrier by making it easier for clients to do business with us."

Today's announcement is the latest example of RBC reaching out to newcomers in their own language. RBC launched its multi-language telephone service through its Contact Centre in 2008. Now, more than 200 RBC Royal Bank branches, including the top 175 branches in multicultural communities across Canada and new and existing RBC retail stores, will have the capability to assist clients with their financial needs in up to 180 languages. Additional branches will offer this capability in the future.

Recent RBC research found that most (84 per cent) newcomers who have been in Canada for less than three years speak a language other than English or French most often at home. More than four-in-ten (43 per cent) newcomers who have been in Canada for less than three years say speaking their language is one of the top three reasons for choosing their financial advisor.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's allophone population, a person whose mother tongue is not English or French, neared 6.3 million in 2006, up 18 per cent since 2001. As a group, allophones made up 20 per cent of Canada's population in 2006, up from 18 per cent in 2001 and 17 per cent in 1996.

"We want to ensure a connection with our clients. We recognize that communicating to clients and, in particular, newcomers in their preferred language reduces anxiety and helps us be more sensitive to cultural differences," added Sy.

To date, RBC has communicated with clients in 136 languages, with the most common language requested being Spanish, followed by Mandarin, Punjabi, Cantonese and Vietnamese.

About the Environics Poll
The findings were conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of RBC in April 2011. Respondents were recruited from an online consumer research panel and are made up of 597 immigrants residing in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Prairies who are first generation and have lived in Canada for three years or less. Quotas were applied to represent the different regions and ethnicities in Canada. Data was weighted according to population data from the 2006 Census to represent the population as closely as possible. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±4 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of immigrants in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.

About RBC Welcome to Canada Package
For more than seven generations, RBC has been supporting newcomers by providing them with resources and tools that make the transition to a new country seamless. The RBC Welcome to Canada package helps newcomers who have been in Canada for less than three years with key financial decisions and includes advice and discounts on products and services. Details on The RBC Welcome to Canada banking package, newly offered preferred rate on Foreign Exchange transactions for 12 months, and branch locators that identify representatives who speak up to 180 languages, can be found at rbc.com/settlequick.

For more information, please contact:

Suzanne Willers, RBC, 416 974-2727
Kate Yurincich, RBC, 416-974-1031