Moving Forward

At the time of writing this annual report, the world was in the midst of the still-unfolding COVID-19 crisis and concurrent market volatility and oil price shocks. Right now, we are all facing challenges unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and Albertans and their businesses are unsure of what the future holds.

So, what can ATB do? That’s not a question that’s new to us. It’s the one that’s guided how we have served Albertans since 1938.

Today, it’s a question with bigger implications, yet the answer remains the same. We can be here. To listen. To help. And to do our best to offer meaningful advice, information, and solutions. Solutions that can help our customers navigate the here and now, and move all of us forward.

President and CEO Curtis Stange

In some ways, it’s hard to even remember what the world was like before COVID-19. This crisis has been all-consuming and has required us to commit all of our resources and energy to being there for Albertans and Alberta businesses—whether that’s in the form of near-term relief or longer-term recovery.

Despite this reality, or perhaps even because of it, we must take time to reexamine and remember the year that was, before the public health and economic crises hit.

FY2020 was, in fact, a solid year, with plenty of bright spots and learnings that have put us in a stronger position to move forward even in light of current events. Despite ongoing and multi-year economic challenges, FY2020 demonstrated signs and signals that Alberta was beginning to rebuild, giving us a sense that we were—albeit gradually—starting to find our footing again. With this in mind, we began to lean in with cautious optimism that better days were ahead.

Some of the highlights from this past fiscal year’s business performance include the following:

  • Just one day after the Province declared a public health emergency, ATB deployed a relief package for customers that included deferred mortgages, loans, and credit card payments—keeping approximately $240 million in Albertans’ pockets during this difficult time.
  • Rapidly, ATB was able to transition into a new operating model for its branch and agency locations to prioritize health and safety of customers and team members, and also moved the majority of its operations and corporate teams to home-based workplaces.
  • ATB reached a milestone of $10 million in donations to support children’s hospitals in Alberta, and raised a record $5.8 million through ATB Cares for Alberta-based charities this year.
  • ATB was proud to be named the #1 place to work in the country by Great Place to Work® Canada. This was the first year ATB was recognized as the top workplace in the nation, and ATB was the only financial institution to make the top 20.
  • ATB captured the biggest share of the small business market in the province, with nearly one-quarter of Alberta businesses choosing to bank with ATB.
  • ATB closed the acquisition of all outstanding Class B shares of AltaCorp Capital Inc., making it a wholly owned subsidiary. This broadens ATB’s service offering and provides customers with holistic corporate and capital markets advice and solutions.
  • ATB acquired Grow Technologies Inc. so customers will have access to an easy-to-use and time-saving digital platform that will significantly improve their banking experience.
  • ATB was the first financial institution in Canada to offer mortgage support for factory-built homes and residential outbuildings, changing national mortgage insurance policies across Canada.
  • ATB’s second Build Her Business crowdfunding campaign encouraged 32 women entrepreneurs to start and grow their business, raising close to $100,000 for participants.
  • ATB committed $250,000 to support agriculture technology, an important pillar of Alberta’s economic viability, through Olds College’s Smart Farm program.

One of our most remarkable milestones this year was the development of ATB’s new 10-Year Strategic Plan. We took on this challenge, to courageously plan our future direction a full decade in advance, because we knew we had to. The speed of technological, social, and economic change requires us to think far ahead to a world that will look different, perhaps even unrecognizable, 10 years from now.

So, we rolled up our sleeves and spent months researching works from the best minds in technology, finance, social society, and economics, giving ourselves the background we needed to intentionally begin placing bets to secure our long-term sustainability. The resulting strategy is bold and built to ensure ATB is still relevant and thriving in another 80 years in Alberta.

It’s true: Our resolve was tested when the pandemic hit, but it was also strengthened. On the eve of our new fiscal year, like so many other institutions and organizations, we had to rapidly change course. Without delay, we triaged our new priorities to ensure we were looking after the health and safety of our team members and our customers, while at the same time getting to work meeting customer needs.

We play a unique role in the province in helping Albertans and Alberta businesses respond to and recover from this crisis. We mobilized in record time to launch our credit relief programs. Thanks to the tremendous commitment and expertise of our teams, we were able to provide real solutions to our customers just 24 hours after the Province declared a public health emergency.

Because we also knew our communities needed us during these extraordinary circumstances, we devoted additional funding to the United Way across Alberta to deploy on-the-ground emergency support to those in poverty, the elderly, and to mental health support agencies.

We were created during the Great Depression to help serve Albertans at a time when other financial institutions weren’t all that interested in our province. Back then, it helped our province rebuild, recover, and cultivate prosperity. Today, that commitment is more important than ever. We are being called to impact the province’s history once again—and it is a role we take very seriously.

Curtis Stange
President and CEO