To support businesses in this new normal, the financial industry has had to change its ways. Interview with Nadine Renaud-Tinker.
The financial sectors are among the industries that have shown considerable agility since the beginning of the pandemic, including RBC Quebec Headquarters, which quickly placed its entire team in full solution mode to support businesses and individuals.
Nadine Renaud-Tinker, President, Quebec Headquarters of Canada’s leading bank shared her observations and advice with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s President and CEO, Emilio B. Imbriglio, on September 3, 2020 as part of the One-on-One series.
From emergency response mode to a one-on-one approach
“This was not an easy year for our entrepreneurs or any organization,” Renaud-Tinker stated at the start of the interview. “A health crisis, which led to an economic and financial health crisis […]. We’ve never seen anything like it in 150 years at the RBC. The challenge now is to begin Phase 2, the recovery phase, and prepare for the future, even if uncertainty remains.”
Transparency, communication and empathy are an integral part of her team’s customer relationship.
She said, “I work extensively with our leaders and teams to ensure we continue the conversations with our clients. For the first few months, we were in emergency mode and in business solutions mode […] We put government measures and moratoriums in place very quickly. We acted promptly for our clients and our employees, without really asking any questions.”
Renaud-Tinker added that the first phase involved generating cash to support customers, entrepreneurs and individuals and that RBC is working differently in the second phase.
“It’s a balancing act for companies and individuals alike. Rather than automatically continuing moratoriums, it’s more of a case-by-case approach.” Moratoriums are not always the best answer because they lead to customer debt. “We granted over $27M in payment deferrals in recent months. That’s huge and we’ve never done that before,” she added.
She went on to say that their teams “must now focus on each customer’s situation to create the appropriate structure. The bank is therefore working on one-on-one solutions. […] Nobody wants to lose companies. We want to find solutions together with our customers.” Patience, empathy and proactiveness are tendencies that will remain.
Slow economic recovery
Renaud-Tinker indicates that, according to its economists, the economic recovery may take two to three years for sectors such as hotels, travel, restaurants, culture, arts and aviation, and emphasizes the need for more industry-specific measures in these cases. The challenge is to get through the next two to three years and then survive. As in all industries, “we all have to reinvent ourselves”.
Could the role of financial institutions be redefined?
Referring to the government’s interventionist role, which will not disappear in the near future, Imbriglio asked whether the role of the banks could be expected to evolve, going beyond that of lender to that of owner, for example. In Renaud-Tinker’s view, this change is not for the foreseeable future, although the world is changing rapidly.
“We are large organizations with our capital markets, insurance, wealth management […] Our strength comes from the fact that we have a wide variety of solutions and advice. The bank’s overall performance is exceptional. We are already investing in Quebec businesses and will continue to do so.”
RBC in Québec versus the rest of Canada
Speaking about the bank’s differences in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada, the Quebec executive responds that RBC in Quebec has an opportunity to continue to grow, ranking third in market share with the strength of 7,000 employees, while in the rest of Canada, the institution has by far been the leader in terms of market shares.
“A significant portion of the head office remained in Quebec. Whether it be operations, mutual funds, risk, fraud, the Visa center, our call center in Montreal which serves all of Canada… We have a national office with a good team.” She adds that they are much more involved in local decision-making.
The President also indicated that all RBC branches are currently open and, on average, 50% of the workforce is working on site, while all other employees are teleworking in order to maintain distance.
Some advice for entrepreneurs
Our President and CEO asked Renaud-Tinker if she had any advice for entrepreneurs. “To continue to be creative and resilient. Businesses here have shown so much courage. We were expecting much worse in the first six months and it’s thanks to Québec entrepreneurs who made the right decisions quickly that we’re here today. Innovate, constantly adjust and stay close to your people – because without our employees, we have no customers and we have no business.”
As for the relationship between entrepreneurs and their bank, Renaud-Tinker advised “Don’t forget to ask for help and share information […] Be transparent. We are partners with our customers. The more we know about your situation, the more we will be able to build a strategy or a structure that will help you.”
Renaud-Tinker also stresses the importance of preparing projections based on what entrepreneurs know (suppliers, contracts, etc.). “Without a projection or a plan that is adapted and adjusted to the present or the future, it is difficult for us to build a structure that will work going forward.”