Investor Spotlight


Roger HOward - BOD PageRoger Howard

Regional President, Atlantic Provinces
RBC Royal Bank



 

This month we talked to Roger Howard, Regional President, Atlantic Provinces at RBC Royal Bank. RBC is one of Halifax’s largest employers and is committed to providing a wide range of diverse and rewarding careers.

Tell us about RBC and the greatest opportunities/challenges that lie ahead?

"We have a very diverse base of customers with equally diverse needs, and the nature of our relationship with our clients is continually changing. Every day, our clients are increasingly making the choice to interact with us online or on their smartphones.

To remain relevant, we need to be on our client’s path. Just as our customers are using technology to reimagine their lives, we’ve had to reimagine the way we run our business and the role we play in helping them achieve their goals and ambitions. That’s meant broadening how we serve our clients to become a blend of branches, digital services, mobile expert advisors, and mobile, on-line and telephone banking. It has also meant making changes to our physical network, which has ranged from opening new branches, combining branches and relocating some branches where it makes sense for our clients and the community.

Staying in line with our customers’ changing needs has provided us with tremendous opportunity. We’ve become faster, nimbler and more innovative in all aspects of our business. We’ve put a lot of effort into coming up with innovative ways to provide advice, designing new roles for our teams, developing new products and creating new or alternate types of branches. But change also brings its share of challenges. In addition to keeping up with clients’ ever evolving expectations, we need to pay more attention than ever to our employees and making sure they are ready and excited for the future."  

What do you see as the greatest advantages of operating a business in Halifax? 

"This region has some incredible strengths, including a time difference that allows us to start our work day before most of Canada, excellent post-secondary institutions, access to a highly skilled workforce and a superb quality of life. However, I think one of Halifax’s main differentiators is the business community – it’s an ecosystem of experienced and emerging business leaders who are welcoming, engaged and supportive of each other. I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s not like this everywhere else. It’s something to be valued, nurtured and not taken for granted!"

Hiring youth is important to the economic growth of Nova Scotia. What is RBC doing?

"We recognize the importance youth play in the economic growth of our province and know we have a role to play in ensuring they find meaningful jobs so that they will choose to stay and live, work and raise their families in Nova Scotia. We are proud of being one of the city’s largest employers and committed to providing a wide range of diverse and rewarding careers through our branch network and other lines of business. Our commitment is paying off; more than half of our employees in Halifax today are millennials.

This success has been the result of some deliberate actions. We’ve leveraged and implemented several RBC proprietary initiatives aimed at employing youth including the RBC Aboriginal Summer Internship Program, the RBC Olympian Program, and RBC Career Launch, a program designed specifically to help break the “no job-no experience and no experience-no job” cycle that so many young people face. We also regularly participate as a co-op and internship employer for university and community college programs. In late March, we announced RBC Future Launch, a 10-year, $500-million initiative to help young people gain access and opportunity to the skills, job experience and career networks needed for the future world of work. A major focus of RBC Future Launch is to provide more, and more equitable, access to quality work-integrated learning experiences. This is to not only prepare students for the realities of the workplace, but also give them valuable, resume-building opportunities to meet the needs of employers. We will be soon unveiling an exciting new youth employment initiative that will help bring RBC Future Launch to life right here in Halifax.

We've also partnered with other organizations that share our commitment. For example, we recently signed on as the Presenting Sponsor of the Halifax Partnership’s Connector Program. There are a number of areas of strong alignment between this program and RBC, including support for new graduates and immigrants, recruitment and retention of young people in the community, employee engagement, and fostering diversity and inclusion."