A Money Coach in Canada

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On Saturday at 9:15 pm, I handed in my pass and walked out of Citizens Bank of Canada for my last time.
All good things must come to an end.

Many readers will know of my longstanding love affair with Canada’s best-kept-secret bank. It’s appeal to me has been threefold:

  1. First and foremost, the fact that it’s owned by Vancity, a credit union, makes all the difference.  It means the profits don’t go to shareholders around the world, who may or may not give a damn about Canada.  Instead the profits go back to the community. Each year, members of the bank get to both nominate and vote for who gets the profits.  Loads of non-profits, mostly local but some in other parts of the globe, have received significant boosts from CB.   For example, a Soya Coop in Ghana received $60K for two consecutive years.  Last year, Habitat for Humanity received $50K.   I personally also helped build the home the money funded.  Cool, eh?
  2. The pricing can’t be beat. The chequing account is completely free, plus now you don’t get dinged for international ATM use.   The savings account usually (but not always) is the highest in Canada.  So start saving there, if nothing else!
  3. It’s online. I don’t know about you, but going into a branch is the last thing I want to do with my time.  CB is all online, baby, with a couple exceptions in downtown Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.   Inside scoop:  It’s phones are open 24/7/365 and the standard is for every call to be picked up within 1 minute and we nearly always hit that target.

I’m really proud that Canada has this bank – ING isn’t the only game in town! (although frankly I think ING is fabulous too.  Really set the pace.)

So a year ago, as many readers may recall,  I pitched and got a trial role of Bank Evangelist – I wanted to tell more Canadians about CB, esp. using social media.  But alas, barely a few months into it, we all know what happened in the financial industry.  So back I went to being a banker instead of the evangelist.

Meantime, an amazing opportunity opened up in Yellowknife, NWT, and I got the job.  I’ll blog about this tomorrow (a number of people have been asking).

Leaving a workplace is never easy.  I was there 3.5 years, albeit part-time, and as you can guess, am deeply passionate about the bank.  (That doesn’t change just because I’m leaving!)  I met so many competent, committed and interesting people and over time, you just do start to care about people you rub shoulders with day after day.   I’ll miss them.  A Lot.  And of course I also met a small handful of rascals who just.didn’t.get.it <le sigh>.  So like with all changes in life, much as I’m looking forward to my new life in Yellowknife there is the cloud of “loss” that departure from a workplace brings.

Anyway, so long, adieu,  Citizens Bank of Canada.   I still have my money with you and don’t think I’m not still going to evangelize you so get ready for 5000 new applications from the NWT.

Readers:  when was the last time you left a workplace?  Was it hard for you too?  Or were you more focused on the next thing?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. Hi Nancy,
    I hope you really enjoy your new position in Yellowknife! I’m looking forward to reading all about your new adventures.

    Do you know if Citizens Bank does small business accounts or is it just personal banking only?

    Cyndi in BC’s last blog post..Knitted Flower Project


    Feb 02, 2009
  2. Sigh…
    Well, there’s always hope for a grassroots CB members movement to spread the word on good banking, right? We’ve just lost the inside contact, that’s all 🙁
    Looking forward to more details on the new job!

    Peter’s last blog post..Cheapest place to buy computer cables: the dollar store


    Feb 02, 2009
  3. Lior

    Aww Nancy who will I call every time I have an issue with something? 🙁

    I joke, I joke. Seriously though, I wish you much success in your future role. It’s an important job you’re undertaking and no doubt a challenging one. Luring highly qualified professionals from big companies is one challenge. But getting them to move all the way to the arctic, that will take a miracle worker no doubt.

    I really do appreciate all your help while you were at CB. You’ve taken the time and patience to help me on several occasions, which I must say I found quite surprising. See, the “other” banks don’t really call you back for anything. There’s no accountability. They only see people as walking wallets that they can ding with ludicrous services charges. But I got a different vibe from CB. I really admire the quick answering to the phones by coherent English speaking reps based out of Vancouver, and not somewhere in the Far East. I like how things are handled quickly and efficiently with no one ever reading a call script. And I admire the flexible plans also. But ultimately it’s the great service that keeps me there, and you’ve certainly had a lot to do with it, Nancy.

    Once again I say congratulations on your new job and I wish you every bit of success. I could say “best of luck” but somehow I don’t think you’ll really need luck. You’re a natural and I’m sure you’ll do great!


    Feb 03, 2009
  4. @Cyndi yes, CB does business banking, although kinda under the radar right now. But call, and they should put you through to someone who handles those accounts. They’re looking specifically for make-the-world-a-better-place businesses.

    @Peter, you bet! I’m all in. I will always have a really strong sense of “ownership” in CB.

    @Lior Sheesh I got a little misty-eyed reading your comment. Most people there are truly trying to create a different kind of bank, a luxury afforded by the fact that we’re owned by a credit union, and not pressured to generate the same high profits as banks, by their shareholders, but instead, focus on the member. We try really hard to live into that, although lose our way on that from time to time.

    nancy’s last blog post..Investing with a conscience


    Feb 03, 2009


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