2020 was truly a year like no other. At CWB, helping our clients navigate financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic was mission critical. It took a relentless, compassionate spirit to support the needs of our clients and people, and we made significant progress to become the best full-service bank for business owners in Canada. With this incredible year behind us, it’s time to reflect on what we are grateful for — the people we work with and for whom we work – and how we continued to grow as a bank and destination for top talent.
As lockdowns began across the country in March 2020, it became clear that business owners were immediately vulnerable to the seismic shift in consumer behaviour and safety measures. Our teams sprang to action, reaching out to our clients before they even asked for help. The spirit of this effort launched #CWBhasyourback, a financial assistance program that connected thousands of business owners to the support they need to weather COVID-19. Our clients are resilient and strong, and we know that, ironically, some of our strongest relationships grow in the most challenging circumstances. We are here to support business owners, and together we’ll get through this.
Our employees showed their resolve, too. More than 85% of our workforce shifted to work from home by the middle of March, a move to protect the health and safety of our people and clients.
Stepping up through this time was no small feat, so all employees were gifted a “Day of Thanks” – all CWB locations closed on July 17 - to rest and recharge. An extra thanks to our frontline workers, in the form of a $750 bonus, arrived in December.
“Social distancing” became one of the year’s top phrases, and suddenly we all looked for ways to be together in spirit. And if there’s anything that continues to create togetherness, it’s delicious food. Born was Appetite For Good, an initiative that connected nine CWB restaurant clients with 667 unsung heroes deserving of a meal paid for by CWB, just by receiving a social media nomination. Thank you to our partners, you helped us prove that we can grow closer to our communities, even in an unprecedented circumstance.
National recognition for a people first culture
In April, with our people completely focused on supporting our teams and clients, unexpected news sprang to the newswire: CWB was recognized as one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada, placing 41st out of 400 participating organizations headquartered in Canada. Later in November, we were acknowledged as having one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. These accolades are a testament to the growth of our values-based culture. Employee camaraderie is the bedrock of our company, and incredible relationships hallmark our client partnerships. Emerging on lists that feature some of Canada’s most well-known and successful companies inspires us to double down on our proactive, people first spirit.Credit crystalized at the leadership level as well, with one particular executive garnering national recognition for championing our values at CWB and beyond. Kelly Blackett, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Communications, was not only named as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women, she also received an inaugural Report on Business Best Executive Award.
Chris Fowler, President and CEO, said it best: “Kelly’s leadership and vision is key to CWB’s growing reputation as an employer and bank of choice.A cast of CWB women in senior leadership roles showed their admiration, too:
Banking centres make their mark
Perhaps CWB’s greatest strides were made in our banking centres. New and modern design features premiered at Chinook (Calgary, Alberta), and Abbotsford, B.C. – a timely development for the team settled in the Fraser Valley as they were named favourite financial institution by the community for the second year in the row. The Kamloops banking centre joined the winners circle too, chosen as “Best Bank” through a local reader’s choice awards program.
And while banking centres out west enjoyed a new look and feel, a new location took root in Mississauga, Ontario — the first brick-and-mortar footprint for CWB in Ontario. Mark Stafford’s diverse and experienced team (pictured below) is thrilled to bring better business banking to the Greater Toronto Area.
Our growth in 2020 would not have been possible without our amazing team members or our valued clients. From all of us at CWB to all of you, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to going above and beyond your expectations in 2021.