The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC; French: Banque Royale du Canada) is a Canadian multinational financial services company and the second largest bank in Canada. The bank serves over 16 million clients and has 80,000 employees worldwide. The company corporate headquarters are located in Montreal, Quebec. The bank was founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. RBC's Institution Number (or bank number) is 003.
In Canada, the bank's personal and commercial banking operations are branded as RBC Royal Bank in English and RBC Banque Royale in French and serves approximately ten million clients through its network of 1,209 branches. RBC Bank is the U.S. banking subsidiary which formerly operated 439 branches across six states in the Southeastern United States, but now only offers cross-border banking services to Canadian travellers and expats. RBC also has 127 branches across seventeen countries in the Caribbean, which serve more than 16 million clients. RBC Capital Markets is RBC's worldwide investment and corporate banking subsidiary, while the investment brokerage firm is known as RBC Dominion Securities. Investment banking services are also provided through RBC Bank and the focus is on middle market clients.
In 2011, RBC was the largest Canadian company by revenue and market capitalization. and was ranked at #50 in the 2013 Forbes Global 2000 listing. The company has operations in Canada, and 40 other countries and had US$673.2 billion of assets under management in 2014.
In 1864, the Merchants Bank of Halifax was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a commercial bank that financed the fishing and timber industries and the European and Caribbean import/export businesses. By 1869 the Merchants' Bank was officially incorporated and received its federal charter in the same year.
During the 1870s and 1880s, the bank expanded into the other Maritime Provinces. When both the Newfoundland Commercial Bank and Union Bank of Newfoundland collapsed on 10 December 1894, the Merchants Bank expanded to Newfoundland on 31 January 1895.
As the bank grew executives changed its name to reflect its growth and western expansion. In 1901, the Merchants Bank of Halifax changed its name to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). The centre of the Canadian financial industry had moved from Halifax to Montreal, so the Merchants Bank relocated its head office there. In 1910, RBC merged with the Union Bank of Halifax. In the same year it built a bank branch in Winnipeg, Manitoba—designed by Carrère and Hastings, in beaux-arts classicism proclaiming the financial dominance of Winnipeg in the prairies. To improve its position in Ontario, RBC merged with Traders Bank of Canada in 1912 and in 1917 RBC merged with Quebec Bank, which was founded in 1818 and chartered in 1822 in Quebec City.
RBC's presence in Manitoba and Saskatchewan was strengthened through a 1918 merger with Northern Crown Bank, which was the result of the merger in 1908 between Northern Bank (established in 1905 in Winnipeg) and Crown Bank of Canada (1904), based in Ontario. RBC's presence in the Prairie Provinces grew again with the 1925 merger with the Union Bank of Canada, which had begun in Quebec City in 1865 as the Union Bank of Lower Canada, but changed its name in 1886. Union Bank of Canada had moved its headquarters to Winnipeg in 1912, and had built a strong presence in the Prairies.
In 1935, RBC merged with Crown Savings and Loan Co. merged with Industrial Mortgage & Trust Co.
RBC installed its first computer in 1961, the first in Canadian banking. In the 1960s, RBC Insurance was created. In 1968, it merged with Ontario Loan and Debenture Company (formerly Ontario Savings and Investment Society). In 1993, RBC merged with Royal Trust. In 1998, RBC acquired Security First Network Bank in Atlanta—the first pure Internet bank. In 2000, RBC merged merchant credit/debit card acquiring business with BMO Bank of Montreal's to form Moneris Solutions. In 2013, RBC completed the acquisition of the Canadian subsidiary of Ally Financial.
RBC Insurance is the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organization, with services to over five million people. It provides life, health, travel, home and auto and reinsurance products as well as creditor and business insurance services.
The bank's symbol is a golden lion clutching a globe, on a blue background. An older version depicted a crown above the globe and the lion faced to the left. The change coincided with an expansion in United States markets. Over the years, the lion's mane has also become less detailed and more stylized, and the tongue was shortened.
The title of Royal Bank's top executive has changed several times. Initially it was styled as President. Later, it became chief executive officer and one often carried additional responsibilities as chairman of the board, while the second-in-command was the President. Allan R. Taylor was chairman and CEO from 1986 to 1994, and he was succeeded by John Cleghorn in that capacity from 1994-2001. Dave McKay is currently the President and chief executive officer.
RBC's official legal corporate headquarters still remains at Place Ville-Marie in Montreal. However, Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto is its de facto corporate headquarters; a lot of its management operations are based there.
In 2007, RBC was recognized as the Top Most 100 powerful brands in the world. Was recognized as the "most respected corporation" in Canada In October 2008, RBC was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, RBC was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper. According to a global Newsweek ranking, which measures how effectively companies manage environmental risks and opportunities relative to their industry peers, Royal Bank of Canada is the most environmentally friendly company in the world.
Like many of its competitors, RBC is a key sponsor of many events, community programs, and charities. One percent of RBC's average annual net income before taxes is set aside for charitable partnerships via the arms-length RBC Foundation.
RBC is a major sponsor of numerous cultural events, including the Toronto International Film Festival. It also sponsors the RBC Taylor Prize, a literary award for non-fiction writing in Canada, and hosts a yearly Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award. In July 2013, the RBC Foundation partnered with the University of Toronto to revive the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, given to recognize achievement in Canadian theatre.
RBC is one of Canada's largest sponsors of amateur sports and is the longest-running Canadian sponsor of the Olympic Games. It employ dozens of top-tier amateur athletes as part-time spokespeople through the RBC Olympians program. RBC is also a major sponsor of Hockey Canada and owns the naming rights to the Canadian national junior 'A' ice hockey championship, the Royal Bank Cup. In addition, it supports Canadian hockey at the grassroots level through the RBC Play Hockey program.
RBC owns naming rights to the RBC Centre, RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, RBC Canadian Open, and RBC Heritage (formerly the Heritage Classic). From 2002 to 2012, RBC previously held the naming rights to what is now the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 1998, the Royal Bank of Canada proposed to merge with the Bank of Montreal, at the same time as the Toronto-Dominion Bank proposed to merge with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Both mergers were examined by the Competition Bureau of Canada, and ultimately rejected by Paul Martin, at the time the Finance Minister of Canada, and future Prime Minister.
On January 15, 2007, CBC Radio reported RBC is "refusing" people of certain nationalities to open U.S. dollar accounts with the bank. Canadian citizens with dual citizenship in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea or Sudan (mostly countries with U.S. sanctions) are affected. The U.S. Treasury Department restricts certain foreign nationals from using the U.S. dollar payment system to limit terrorism and money laundering after the September 11, 2001, attacks. RBC replied that compliance with such laws does not represent an endorsement by the bank and on January 17, clarified its position on the application of the U.S. laws, specifying that "with some exceptions" it does open accounts for dual citizens of the sanctioned countries. There have also been reports that the bank has closed the accounts of some Iranian-Canadian citizens.
Environmental groups have criticized RBC's financing of oil sands bitumen extraction and expansion, cumulatively issuing "more than $2.3 billion in loans and financing more than $6.9 billion in [corporate] debt between 2003 and 2007 for 13 companies including: EnCana, Husky Energy, OPTI Canada, Delphi Energy, Canadian Oil Sands Trust, Northwest Upgrading, Suncor, Total, Connacher Oil and Gas, InterPipeline and Enbridge." Some environmental groups believe oil sands extraction has a detrimental effect on the northern Alberta environment.
An RBC branch in The Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa was firebombed in May 2010. The party responsible later identified themselves on Indymedia and threatened to make their presence at the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as RBC was one of its key sponsors, as well as at the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit.
In April 2013 the CBC reported that the Royal Bank of Canada was indirectly hiring temporary foreign workers to replace 45 Canadian Information Technology workers.
The CBC reported on May 7, 2013, that during question period the NDP leveled accusations against the government and then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to which he responded that the government has been working on problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for more than a year.
RBC is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and is a registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks.
It is also a member of:
An RBC building in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Royal Bank building in Winnipeg, Manitoba
A branch of the RBC Bank, in Holetown, Barbados
RBC tower in Vancouver
Royal Bank of Canada branch (left) and Parliament of Barbados
The RBC's head office in Montreal at the Place Ville-Marie.