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Agricultural Banking

1907Royal Bank sponsored and distributed the publication “Farmer’s Complete Bookkeeper.”
1925Royal Bank distributed the Farmers’ Account Book.
Royal Bank’s Weyburn branch teamed up with the branches of the Bank of Montreal, Canadian Bank of Commerce and Weyburn Security Bank to establish a demonstration farm that was actively worked for next five years to demonstrate that scientific rotation of crops can improve soil of Southern Saskatchewan “burnout” area.
1927The booklet “Feeding and better livestock: Royal Bank farm talks,” by Earl W. Crampton, M.S. Assistant Professor of Animal Husbandry, Macdonald Agricultural College, Quebec was published.
1931On September 18, the first cargo of Canadian wheat left Churchill, Manitoba, carried by the steamer “Farnworth,” which was financed by the Royal Bank of Canada.
1937The Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act was passed in 1937. Under the Act, a chartered bank could make a loan to the owner of a rural or urban home to cover the cost of repairing, altering or making improvements to the home. Loans were not to exceed $2,000 on any single property. Royal Bank subsequently introduced Home and Farm Improvement Plans (National Employment Commission).
1944“Agriculture” was the topic of the July issue of Royal Bank Letter. Published as an economic and financial publication since 1920, the Royal Bank Letter expanded its audience by changing its focus in December 1943 to become a general interest publication.
1945The Farm Improvements Loans Act: “An Act to encourage the provision of Intermediate Term and Short Term Credit to Farmers for the Improvement and Development of Farms, and for the Improvement of Living Conditions thereon” was proclaimed effective March 1, 1945. The maximum amount of any loan that could be outstanding at any one time was $3,000 (increased to $4,000 in 1953).
1950The topic of Royal Bank Letter’s November issue was “Agriculture in Canada’s Economy.”
1954Royal Bank’s manager at Steinbach, Manitoba reported that the branch had $6,000 invested in about 70 beef calves and over 150 savings accounts in the names of farm boys and girls who bought a calf, raised it during the summer and sold it in the fall, depositing the profit in the bank. The loan was guaranteed by the father and children received training to become successful farmers.
1958One of the Royal Bank’s “public service” booklets, Making Money by Saving Soil, featured the farm of a long time customer of Manitoba’s Moose Jaw Branch. The aerial shot of the farm had come from the National Film Board without Royal Bank’s Advertising Department knowing whose farm it was.
1962Jack McArthur, former branch manager at Belleville, Ontario, was appointed to Royal Bank’s newly created post of Agricultural Representative, headquartered in the Ontario General Manager’s Department, Toronto. He was widely known in agricultural circles through his participation in the 4-H movement.
1963Royal Bank established the 4-H Interprovincial Exchange. The program has afforded young Canadians an opportunity to travel to another province and to become acquainted with that region and its people.
1966Dr. J. Clay Gilson is appointed as the agricultural economic consultant for the bank.
1967Changes to Canada’s Bank Act enabled financial institutions to lend directly to farmers. Prior to this change, banks were limited to Farm Improvement Loans, which no longer met farm finance needs.
Royal Bank was the first Canadian bank to dedicate staff to the service of the Prairie farmer with the establishment of the Prairie Agricultural Department, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, under the management of Doug McRorie, an agricultural economist. Its purpose included advising and assisting in the development of policies and services to the agricultural community, representing the bank in that community, providing technical advice on credit applications and training rural branch managers.
1968Royal Bank launched Farmplan, its new one-stop farm lending program geared to the needs of Prairie Provinces’ businessmen/farmers. Coinciding with the launch, Royal Bank donated $5,000 each to the Agricultural departments of University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan and University of Alberta. Also announced were two extensions of the bank’s agricultural department with opening of agricultural offices in Calgary and Regina.
1969Farmplan was launched in Ontario in April. To coincide with the launch, Royal Bank donated $5,000 to the University of Guelph’s College of Agriculture to support research in farm finance and agricultural economics.
1970The Agricultural Services Department, previously limited to the Prairie Provinces and Ontario, was expanded nationwide. Farmplan loans (available in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) expanded to include optional life insurance coverage on loans. This was the first time that this type of service was available to our farm and ranch customers.
1972Farmchek was launched as a pilot project in October offering farmers an accounting service using encoded cheques and deposit slips to record both farm and personal transactions.
1972Doug McRorie was promoted to the newly created position of Royal Bank’s Director of Agricultural Services, Canada.
1972Royal Bank introduced a completely new concept to Canadian banking – the Agri-bank. Located on the outskirts of Exeter, Ontario, the Agri-bank was designed to serve the area farmers, incorporating all of Royal Bank’s specialized agricultural services in a van, fully stocked with a desk, files and a phone.
1974Royal Bank was the most actively involved Canadian bank in terms of helping farmers manage their increasingly complex business. Royal Bank had 15 of 35 agricultural specialists working in Canadian chartered banks at that time, and held 32% of the Canadian farm loan market.
1975The Royal Bank Award was presented to Dr. R. Keith Downey & Dr. Baldur R. Stefansson, agricultural scientists.
1976Alexander McInnes Runciman, O.C., LL.D., president, United Grain Growers Limited, was appointed a director of Royal Bank on February 25th. A leader in the development of agricultural research and of markets for Canadian grain, this native of Scotland served the Saskatchewan farming community for 20 years before serving for 20 years as president of the United Grain Growers in Winnipeg. He had also served as a director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Grains Council, and president of the Rapeseed Association.
1977Royal Bank supplied handy Farmetric Converters to agricultural banking clients. A slick slide rule, it was printed in both English and French and designed to help farmers adjust to the metric system. To our knowledge, this service was unique to Royal Bank.
1978The RoyFarm Mortgage Program was developed and introduced. This was our first step into long term financing greater than 15 years.
1982First introduced in Brantford, Ontario, in 1982, by 1988 Royal Bank has 25 specialized agricultural centres to help farmers experiencing financial difficulties.
1983As part of its continuing commitment to farmers, Royal Bank formalized its agricultural lending policy for consistent application across Canada and was also the first Canadian bank to provide its agrologists with micro-computers to take out of the office and onto the farm for on-the-spot financial analysis.
1986Homestead Computer Services Ltd. of Winnipeg and Royal Bank introduced RoyFarm, a computer software program that was developed for the financial planning needs of Canadian farmers. A first of its kind in North America, the software package was designed for Royal Bank agrologists but could also be used by farmers and by accountants and professionals serving the agricultural community. Doug McRorie, vice-president, Royal Bank’s Agricultural Services said, “We gave this project our full support because we are convinced that personal computers offer tremendous benefits to farmers.”
1990Tributes to Doug McRorie continued to come in long after his death in 1989. The Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) Research Foundation set up a fund for university scholarships, the 4-H Foundation of Canada set up a memorial fund for seminars and conferences, and he was inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame as one of the pioneers of agricultural banking in Canada.
1991Royal Bank developed and introduced the Agricultural Bankers’ Calculator (ABC), financial planning software developed for agricultural account managers and agrologists for analyzing agricultural business.
1999Royal Bank moved its head office for Agricultural Banking from Winnipeg to Guelph, Ontario.
Employees at Royal Bank’s Winnipeg Agriculture Banking Centre at Pembina & Oakenwald received Certificates of Appreciation for their initiative and commitment to agriculture awareness from Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture, H.J. Enns.
2003The 4-H Inter-provincial Exchange Program, one of the Canadian 4-H Council’s longest-running national programs, received a commitment of $250,000 from Royal Bank. The Inter-provincial Exchange has provided the opportunity for thousands of delegates to travel, experience and become familiar with customs and lifestyles in another province.
2005Royal Bank created a National Agriculture Risk Management team based in Calgary, Alberta.
The Canadian 4-H Council recognized Royal Bank for more than 55 years of providing financial and individual support to the 4-H program in Canada by awarding the Platinum 4-H Award. Royal Bank is the first financial institution in Canada to achieve this prestigious level of recognition.
2008Royal Bank created a National Agriculture Commercial Advisory Group headed up out of Guelph, Ontario.
2009Following the discontinuation of the RBC 4-H Interprovincial Exchange Program in 2008, Royal Bank partnered with the Canadian 4-H Council to create a new program – the RBC 4-H Rural/Urban Youth Outreach Program. The objective of the program is to support the implementation and development of new 4-H clubs in rural, urban and suburban communities.
2012Royal Bank, in partnership with Farm & Food Care Foundation, released a report entitled, Growing from Strength: Farmers enhancing productivity with sustainable innovation. The report provides an overview of the latest trends and technologies in the agriculture industry and how farmers can incorporate environmental considerations into strategic decision making so they can continue to provide healthy, safe and affordable food.