Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Strongest Bank in North America Looking for Growth in PEI

In June 2011, the National Bank of Canada was awarded the Number One Bank in North America for its financial strength by Bloomberg Markets magazine and they are setting their sights on agriculture in Prince Edward Island. 
Located in Charlottetown and Summerside, the National Bank Financial Group’s branches have been concerned with their lack of visibility.  To this point they have relied on word of mouth as their advertising platform and it has worked well so far. That is because it has been a positive message from Island farmers that have been dealing with National Bank.
National Bank Financial Group is one of the top six chartered banks in Canada, and the undisputed leader in Quebec.  With more than $4.0 billion worth of approved credit to farms and agribusiness across Canada, the National Bank Financial Group has been involved for a long time in farming communities.  The firm is proud to trace its roots back to 1859, attributing their success to customer service.  Dallas Kelly, Manager of Agribusiness in the Charlottetown branch, admits that the cookie cutter approach to credit does not work for farming.  “Every farm has their own cost of production based on many variables and that doesn’t work with fill-in-the-blanks credit applications.”  Customer service for Mr. Kelly includes farm visits to get to know the farmer and to see the operation that the farmer is proud to own. 
This week, National Bank is one of the many sponsors of the Dairy Cup of Golf, an annual event at Mill River Golf Club in support of PEI 4-H.  They are sponsoring two teams to golf in the event, as well as two of the course holes.  This will be the third year that National Bank has attended the golf tournament.  Carl Arsenault, Branch Manager of the bank’s Charlottetown location, says, “Everyone enjoys a day of golf and when we can put our sponsorship money toward a great cause, such as 4-H, we are happy to participate.”
Dr. Gary Morgan of Veterinary Management Services in O’Leary has been organizing this event for twelve years.  The monies raised at this event go directly to PEI 4-H Dairy Team to allay costs for participants headed to Toronto for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November. 
National Bank Financial Group is proud to support all commodities of agricultural business.  Being awarded the Number One Bank in North America for financial strength and Number Three in the World suggests this is just one sign that National Bank has a commitment to grow this market.  As well, a realignment of priorities to fit the agriculture model will help to focus on agriculture.  A recent renovation at the Charlottetown Branch also shows the long term thinking behind the bank’s affirmation of support and success in Prince Edward Island. 

Gwyn Bellefontaine

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