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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Bart Copeland, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White

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Royal Bank making it easier for newcomers to settle in Canada

TORONTO, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - RBC Royal Bank today announced it has made a number of enhancements to make it easier for newcomers to manage their finances and settle in Canada. The changes being made recognize the unique needs of newcomers and better enable access to credit products, including options that require no Canadian credit history.

"Each year, we welcome approximately 650,000 immigrants to Canada and one of the common challenges newcomers face is establishing credit in their new home country," said Christine Shisler, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC. "We want to be the bank that helps people with their important firsts - their first bank account, their first credit card, their first car purchase and their first home. These are significant milestones and we want to make the transition to Canada as seamless as possible by recognizing their needs and values."

The changes affect three major areas of the journey to Canada: Buying your first car and home, establishing a Canadian credit history and getting reaccredited in your field. These changes will make it easier to get the credit products they need without waiting to build a Canadian credit history.

Buying your first car in Canada
Upon settling in Canada, many people require a vehicle. In a study conducted by RBC, about one in four (26 per cent) newcomers who have been in Canada for one year or less report they expect to buy a vehicle in the next year. However, more than one-third (39 per cent) of these say they don't know how they are going to finance it. RBC has made it easier to make a first car purchase in Canada by introducing a new "no credit history required" loan at over 3,500 dealerships nationwide.

Buying your first home in Canada
Many newcomers buy a home within five years of arrival, and our research has shown that it can be a very challenging experience. Our new mortgage enhancements make it easier for newcomers to get into their first house in Canada sooner. We've extended the qualification period for RBC's Newcomer Mortgage program from three to five years, enabling more newcomers to get a mortgage in the first five years of arrival in Canada, with or without a credit history.

Establishing a Canadian credit history
Although RBC does not require newcomers to have a credit history in order to purchase your first vehicle or home, establishing a credit history is a critical step upon settlement in Canada. In the same study, RBC found that one-third (32 per cent) of those new to Canada felt that having a credit card was a useful way to establish a good credit rating in Canada. Allowing flexible borrowing behaviour helps newcomers achieve goals like buying a car or a house. RBC was one of the first banks to introduce the "no credit history required Unsecured Credit Card," and with this latest enhancement has made it easier for the vast majority of permanent residents to qualify for an unsecured credit card.

Getting reaccredited in your field
Once they arrive in Canada, many workers may need to upgrade skills, and enroll in courses or school to receive Canadian accreditation in their chosen profession. To help newcomers with their career goals, RBC is expanding its unique Newcomer Skilled Loan Program to provide easier financing to support this important step.

"We want to help people achieve their goals in Canada, whether that's home ownership, buying a car or getting Canadian accreditation in their skill or trade," said Shisler. "The changes we are making demonstrate RBC's desire to understand and adapt to newcomer needs, values and timelines. We're working to help them build the lives they want faster so they're on track for success in Canada."

RBC's International Remittance service through RBC Online Banking has also changed, and will make it easier for clients to transfer funds in a low-cost manner with its expansion to the United States and other countries, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About RBC's Welcome to Canada Package
For over 145 years, RBC has been helping newcomers get settled in Canada by providing them with resources and tools that make settling in Canada an easier transition.

  • To assist with language barriers RBC provides service by phone or in-branch in over 200 languages.
  • The RBC Welcome to Canada package helps newcomers who have been in Canada for less than three years with key financial decisions and includes advice and discounts on products and services, such as a banking account with no monthly fees for 6 months, and an unsecured, no credit history required $1,000 credit card, with Visa & MasterCard options to help them start building a credit history.
  • Consumers around the world can access information on moving to Canada, including financial advice checklists and more, at rbc.com/canada.

About the poll
The poll was conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of RBC in May 2013. Respondents were recruited from an online consumer research panel and are made up of 357 immigrants residing in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec who are first generation and have lived in Canada for 1 year or less. Quotas were applied to represent the different regions and ethnicities in Canada. Data was weighted according to population data to represent the population as closely as possible. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of immigrants in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada's largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 42 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at rbc.com/community-sustainability.

SOURCE RBC

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