Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New bank targets Chinese-Canadians...why only the Chinese, Laundry you say?

New bank targets Chinese-Canadians

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Canada’s newest federally chartered bank announced its launch this week, touting itself as the first institution of its kind specifically focused on the Chinese-Canadian community.
Wealth One Bank of Canada aims to become the “preferred bank among Chinese-Canadians,” said CEO and president Charles Lambert.
A release this week announced the opening of Wealth One’s offices in Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, “with an eye on cross-country expansion in the years to come.”
“It’s a long application process,” Lambert said Thursday of the bank’s five-year journey to this week’s announcement. “New banks are not created every day.”
Wealth One is open to all Canadians, with a particular focus on the Chinese-Canadian community, said the self-described “career banker” with decades of industry experience with the Scotiabank and RBC, who added he was not aware of any existing federally chartered Schedule I bank in Canada with such a focus.
The bank’s front-line staff will communicate with customers in their own language “in a culturally sensitive way,” said Lambert, who does not speak Cantonese or Mandarin, but is “learning slowly.”
“Having a Canadian bank founded by Canadian-Chinese is something that’s unique,” he said. “It’s a different approach to the market.”
Starting this month, the bank will serve Chinese Canadian citizens or permanent residents, whether Canadian-born or immigrants, said Lambert. The bank does not offer programs for non-residents.
“We’re very, very early days, as we’re beginning to make ourselves known,” said Lambert. “But so far, I think the reception has been very good.”
The bank will initially offer high-interest savings accounts, term deposits, and residential mortgages in Canada’s two hottest housing markets, Lambert said, with plans to add more products and services in the future.
Discussing the target market, Lambert pointed to Canada’s 2011 census, which counted more than 1.3 million Chinese-Canadians, making up four per cent of the country’s total population.
Wealth One will compete with Chinese institutions operating Canadian offices (such as Bank of China), as well as domestic banks accustomed to serving diverse communities and, in some cases, Canadians with international financial interests.
Earlier this year, the Quebec-based National Bank opened a branch of its exclusive private banking wing in Vancouver, due, in part, to the growing amount of international wealth flowing through Vancouver. Private Banking 1859, a division of National Bank, has a different target market than Wealth One, focusing not on a particular ethnocultural community, but on high net-worth Canadians from any background.
The institution opened its first B.C. office in June, on downtown Vancouver’s Alberni Street, nestled among the Shangri-La Hotel, Prada and Burberry.
The boutique institution is “off to a great start” in its first months in Vancouver, said Darwin Schandor, vice-president of Private Banking 1859. The wealthy families and individuals making up their clientele include both newcomers to Canada and others who have been here for generations, Schandor said, and their internationally-connected Chinese customers come not only from China, but around the world.
Schandor said he could not accurately say how much of their clientele has foreign-generated wealth or international financial interests, but said he thinks the office’s early success reflects the fact “Vancouver has officially arrived on the international city scene
.