Reflecting on 10 years at City National Bank

Ten years seems like a long time… and in many ways it is, but the last ten years also have flown by quicker than expected.  I started at City National Bank ten years ago this month as a Finance Manager supporting the Banking Services Division.  It was a good change for me after spending the previous several years on the sales’ side of banking and investments.

City National Bank

Newbies on the team

The centralization of our group from the lines-of-business was a new path, considering that our teams used to report directly to the Executives we supported.  By centralizing our team of Finance Managers, we were better able to share best practices and standardize most of our reporting.

Three of the six people on the team were hired within two months of each other, with a fourth person hired about seven months later.  Despite our differences in age and background, we all became fast friends and learned to support each other as we learned the systems and politics of a new role.

An education in the back office

When I started with the bank, I was supported the majority of the back-office operational units of the bank.  The areas I worked with were as diverse as cash vault, check processing, funds transfer, investment operations, operations risk management, CRA, international, the loan center, cash management, and information systems.

I learned so much about how a bank runs, that most consumers (and even most bank salespeople) haven’t the foggiest idea about.  Many great relationships were formed during this time, which has contributed to future success.  By having a better working knowledge about how the bank runs, and having the ability to easily reach out to past colleagues for answers, this enabled me to find solutions to many of the challenges I would face when supporting the colleagues yet to come.

Where the money is made

After a couple of years supporting the back office, I was promoted to support a couple of the most important divisions within the bank.  These were high-profile divisions, with the added complexity of a balance sheet (loans, deposits, wealth management) and revenue (interest and fee-based income streams) that were not a part of the everyday life supporting the back office.

I have been working with the sales’ LOBs since 2007, supporting such diverse business concepts as Entertainment, Real Estate, Core (branch) Banking, Corporate Finance, Municipal Finance, Franchise Finance, and many more.  Each business line is a valuable contributor to the bank’s overall success and a great way to serve even more members of our local communities.

It has been interesting to learn the nuances of each of these areas of our business.  I’m glad to have been able to contribute my share of effort to the overall success we’ve experienced… whether that be expanding into new regions, opening new offices, adding new teams, acquiring like-minded companies, or growing organically through our daily efforts to meet the needs of our clients.

The last 10 and the next 10

Over the past 10 years, City National Bank has grown by leaps and bounds, which is evident in our geographic reach, the number of offices we have, the size of our portfolio, and the increase in our stock price.

Royal Bank of Canada

In January 2015, it was announced that we are merging with Royal Bank of Canada.  Whenever most people hear that their smaller company is merging into much larger one, a certain feeling of panic if normal.

However, there is very little overlap among our organizations, so most of us feel that our jobs are secure.  It has been said that, if we are in fear for our job, we should step out our door and look left and right down the street to see if there’s an RBC office nearby.  In almost every instance, the answer is no.

This is certainly a play for expansion of the quality and depth of service we provide our clients, rather than the normal industry consolidation and focus on “synergies” expected through elimination of duplicate offices & colleagues that executives often speak about when being interviewed on MSNBC when justifying an often inflated acquisition price.

I look forward to meeting our new RBC colleagues and seeing where this new chapter takes us.  Considering that RBC’s HQ is in Canada and that CNB is now a cog in a much bigger machine, there should be plenty of opportunity for growth, both locally and abroad — for the bank and our careers.

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