Tuesday, September 12, 2006

RBC Seeks to Solidify Market Spot

Reuters, 12 September 2006

Royal Bank of Canada has been able to maintain "reasonable consistency" in domestic banking margins despite heavy competition, and that should continue, President and Chief Executive Gordon Nixon said at an investor conference on Tuesday.

"Canada has (been) and will continue to be a very, very competitive marketplace," Nixon said at a Toronto investor conference organized by Scotia Capital.

Royal Bank has kept reasonable consistency in its margins "and that's something that I wouldn't expect to change dramatically into the future," he said.

Royal, Canada's largest bank by assets and market capitalization, aims to have a No. 1 market position in key products within Canada.

It is currently No. 2 in personal loans and credit cards, and in personal core deposits, but No. 1 in other categories, including residential mortgages and business deposits, according to the bank's data.

Royal's personal core deposit growth is "slightly below the industry average" and is an area of prime focus, Nixon said.

To improve, Royal is opening new branches, investing more in front-line staff and technology, and plans to improve marketing and keep launching new products, he said.

Although Canadian banks are not allowed to sell insurance through their bank branches, Royal Bank has opened seven insurance branches in the past 15 months, and Nixon said it expects to have up to 20 insurance branches open across Canada within the next year.