TORONTO, April 7, 2020 /CNW/ - Scotiabank today hosted its 188th Annual Meeting of Shareholders via webcast and teleconference. In his address, President and CEO Brian Porter gave tribute to late Chairman Thomas O'Neill, thanked healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reinforced the Bank's stability, strength and readiness to weather the current economic environment.
Thomas O'Neill served as Chair of the Scotiabank Board of Directors from 2014 to 2019 and was appointed to the Scotiabank Board in 2008. Mr. Porter paid tribute to Mr. O'Neill in his remarks, stating that "Tom was a cherished and respected leader at the Bank, who exemplified our core values of Respect, Integrity, Accountability, and Passion. For those of us who were fortunate to know him and work with him, we will miss him greatly."
Mr. Porter continued by thanking the legions of Scotiabank employees who have gone above and beyond to serve customers throughout the quickly evolving stages of the COVID-19 health crisis.
"Since the crisis first began, employees have responded with courage and diligence to an unprecedented volume of calls, questions, and concerns," Mr. Porter said. He then added his "deep gratitude to our more than 100,000 Scotiabankers – all of whom deserve our profound thanks and appreciation."
To that end, Mr. Porter spoke specifically to Scotiabank's response to helping customers manage this period of financial hardship, outlining relief measures for customers in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Colombia. Many customers have taken advantage of Scotiabank's mortgage payment deferral program, in addition to similar programs set up to defer payments on personal loans, auto loans, and credit cards.
Mr. Porter then highlighted Scotiabank's preparedness to manage the impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy. "While we could never predict the crisis we currently face, we are prepared for it," Mr. Porter stated. "Our efforts over the past few years to strategically reposition the Bank's footprint, focus on asset quality, and reduce risk have also positioned us well to weather the current storm."
In particular, Mr. Porter highlighted the Bank's investment in technology, which has enabled more than 60% of employees globally to work remotely from home, while its digital and online channels have allowed more efficient access to customers in their homes.
In 2019, Scotiabank reported earnings of $9.4 billion – a result of considerable efforts to focus and simplify its footprint, strengthen its business, and provide a superior customer experience that will continue to pay off over the longer term.
Mr. Porter also recognized the collaborative effort across the financial industry that managing COVID-19 has required – extending his thanks to the Canadian banking sector, regulators, public officials, and politicians for the leadership they have shown over the past few weeks.
"The cooperation and coordination we have seen with the federal Ministry of Finance and other ministries, as well as provincial governments, the Bank of Canada, and OSFI has been impressive," he said. "There is a clear understanding that we are in this together, and the only way is to get through this is together."
Earlier today, Scotiabank also announced a donation of $2.5 million to support COVID-19 community response efforts. Funds will be directed to charitable organizations across the Bank's global footprint that serve the immediate and future needs of those left most vulnerable as a result of the pandemic.
For more information on how Scotiabank is supporting customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/personal/scotia-support/latest-updates/scotia-support.html.
Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: "for every future," we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of approximately 100,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.2 trillion (as at January 31, 2020), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit http://www.scotiabank.com and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.
For further information: Laura Mergelas, Global Communications, [email protected], 416-285-2639