It has taken years upon countless years, but finally Dave McKay, who has been the CEO of Royal Bank for just over 21 years, has decided to internally merge together the core Royal Bank banking platform and its discount brokerage of RBC Direct Investing. Cheers could be heard not only throughout RBC’s own call centers, but by all of the company’s North American customers.
One client, Tim Lerman, 62, recalls a typical call he had with the bank highlighting the difficulties of the separate entities.
"Just last week, I was doing my regular day to day banking at the virtual branch, and the nice lady at the virtual counter informed me that I was no longer eligible for my multi-product rebate. ‘How is that possible?’, I asked. ‘I have been getting this rebate for the last 42 years!’ I quickly Rifted to the bank’s call center and explained the issue to Chris. After being on hold for 30 minutes he asked if I had an active credit card. Of course I did, so I told him yes. ‘Don’t worry,’ Chris said, ‘I have the entire Direct Investing team working on this for you.’ Another 30 minutes on hold, Chris was back. ‘I have the solution for you’ he said. ‘Just let me put you on hold for one second.’ Thirty minutes later the phone line disconnected."
This pressing issue does not just affect RBC, but every Canadian bank, due to government regulations. Lerman continued:
"I called back. Hold for 30 minutes. Then I explained the same issue again to Partha. Again hold for 30 minutes. To my amazement Partha had figured out what was wrong. A release form signed back in 2006 stated that I don’t want to share any of my personal information. That was the reason that RBC could not engage with RBC Direct Investing. ‘I signed this form 29 years ago!’ I complained. ‘Well we can have you sign a new fo-’ ‘ACCEPT! ACCEPT!’, I shouted into the Oculus’ microphone."
The multi product rebate is given to customers who use other RBC products, in order to waive the day to day banking fees. Lerman was using the credit card and had a Direct Investing account, but RBC could not see the Direct Investing account due to this form that blocked the flow of information internally. Lerman went on:
"Partha came back on the line after a 30 minute hold and told me it was all fixed. Except that it would take 2 months to be processed and that I would continue paying fees in the meantime. I went ballistic. The heart rate monitor on my iWatch Air 7 almost exploded. ‘Let me speak to your manager!’ I shouted. After a 30 minute wait, Cindy 7700 picked came on the line. She seemed to already know the situation from Partha. ‘Is your credit card active’, Cindy 7700 asked. ‘YES!’ I said confidently. ‘Well, I can see one payment here, but no transaction.’ ‘Why would I make a payment if there was no transaction?’ ‘Oh good point.’ Another 30 minutes on hold."
"‘I now see the transaction,’ Cindy 7700 came back on the line. ‘Do you go to Poppers every month to buy a sandwich?’ ‘No!’ I said ‘But I plan to keep the card active.’ Cindy 7700 concurred. ‘Ok I’ve refunded you the money and a little extra to make up for the processing time over the next 2 months. That should solve your issue, have a nice day!’ The problem was finally resolved, and I had gotten the $4 back into my bank account."
To solve issues such as this for millions of clients, RBC has changed the rules of the game in a revolutionary move. The company’s decision to connect the two divisions of RBC together will add countless efficiencies for employees and will save clients millions of dollars.
The change will come into effect in 4 months. Until then, customers will continue paying fees.