Access to Banking
Our Definition and Approach
ATB’s mandate is to provide Albertans access to financial services, foster competition in the financial services marketplace and promote economic growth and investment.
We can earn the trust of our Everyday Financial Services (EFS), ATB Business and ATB Wealth clients by anticipating their needs and offering everyone a high calibre of advice.
We responsibly address societal and economic gaps by making financial inclusion a priority. Delivering relevant financial products and services to underserved and vulnerable communities gives everyone the opportunity to become financially empowered.
Our digital platform will enable ATB to keep pace with new technology and improve our offerings in step with client expectations. That includes expanded self-service options, the ability to customize preferences, and other conveniences that technology makes possible.
Quantifying Our Client Obsession
We endeavour to create and deliver truly remarkable client experiences, and it’s important that we measure the success, impact and reception of those efforts.
The COV takes a holistic view of our clients across all products and areas of expertise (AOEs) and surveys their experience. We then use insights from these comprehensive COV measures to systematically improve the client experience in the categories of people, processes and technology. COV includes measures of Economic Total Revenue (ETR) and our Client Obsession Index (COI).
Our ATB Wealth team measures how they are delivering on client experience through a set of six commitments, which state that clients are entitled to:
- Have an advisor they trust (earned by living Our Values).
- Understand the wealth plan we’ve created with them.
- Hear from us—how and when they want to.
- Provide feedback to continuously make us better.
- Be introduced to ATB experts to support their needs.
- Better understand their relationship with money.
The Six Commitments are designed to foster a results-oriented work environment that is grounded in client obsession and delivers on our commitment to put clients’ interests at the core of everything we do.
Scaling Digital Enablement
A Focus on Digitalization
Banking can be an everyday necessity. During times when in-person banking isn’t possible—such as during a pandemic—digital access becomes even more important.
This year, ATB’s EFS area established the Digital Integration and Growth team, with a mandate to grow ATB’s digitally active client base and maintain the pace of conversion necessary to achieving longer-term digitalization. As a result, self-serve transactions continue to rise.
Digital transactions free up ATB team members to spend more time providing advice to our clients, raising the likelihood of positive experiences while lowering the overall cost per transaction.
Over 160 new automated banking machines (ABMs) were installed this year, helping our clients access self-serve options such as multi-denomination cash withdrawals, cash deposits without holds and cheque images printed on receipts.
Approximately 84% of business client transactions completed in FY2022 were initiated using self-serve channels.
Humans of 2030+
ATB Ventures’ Humans of 2030+ is a human-centred foresight framework designed to help companies and individuals plan for the future.
It uses psychometric data to predict how humans will respond to technological and societal change, based on emotional, financial, occupational, physical and social wellness indicators. As users browse future scenarios, the psychometric model assesses how each aspect of wellness would change.
- A Baseline scenario that follows the current state trajectory.
- A Growth scenario that sees social and economic drivers cause improvements.
- A Decay scenario marked by social and economic instability.
- A New Equilibrium scenario that shows major technological change leading to good and bad social restructuring.
This initiative has the potential to support our clients, providing relevant information and recommendations based on their unique financial journeys.
Enhancing Online Banking
On March 29, 2022, all personal banking clients who are digital users were moved to the new ATB Personal web banking platform, which offers faster and simpler management of everyday banking via the ATB Personal app.
Our business clients also continue to be migrated to the new ATB Business platform and are now enjoying a faster client experience, with enhancements like two-factor authentication to ensure secure digital transactions.
ATB was the first full-service financial institution in North America to successfully facilitate payments using chatbots. Chatbots have been integrated into all self-serve client support channels. They create convenience for clients by responding to inquiries, making suggestions and taking only seconds to process requests.
Our Next Best Conversation platform is a personalized recommendation engine ATB developed using machine-learning algorithms.
By analyzing over 200 client attributes, the engine can generate a mix of suggestions like advice, alerts, solutions, release limits, support and product offers.
Client-facing team members can use those suggestions to make relevant and meaningful client connections and value-based sales.
Here for Albertans
We are proud to have supported Albertans and Alberta businesses during a very difficult and unpredictable time. We were able to quickly implement the programs and processes necessary to ensure that funds could be distributed to our clients when they were needed most.
ATB has funded nearly $1.7 billion through various relief programs, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Mid-Market Financing Program. To date, ATB has issued 877 loans in the amount of $225 million under the HASCAP program. As of January 2022—as reported by the BDC—ATB had provided 32% of all HASCAP loans and loan amounts in Alberta. Additionally, ATB has funded 17% of total CEBA loan amounts in the province.
In addition to facilitating pandemic relief programs, ATB also proactively worked with clients who were impacted by the pandemic and resulting economic shock, to help them navigate financial uncertainties.
Agricultural Client Support
ATB supported farmers and ranchers affected by adverse agricultural conditions this past year. We worked with our clients to defer payments on their loans—with a combined outstanding balance of more than $63 million.
Mortgage Renewal Squads
An easier and more convenient way for clients to renew their mortgages became a priority during the pandemic. Mortgage renewal squads were introduced to reduce the need for in-person transactions—which fell from 95% to 20% in the first quarter they were introduced. The mortgage renewal squads continue to test and refine their approach to elevating client experience through the mortgage renewal process.
Wealth and the Evolution of Advice
The ATB Wealth team spent the year focused on bringing together three core initiatives: wealth planning, wealth transfer and behavioural finance.
This advisory model creates a personalized and holistic financial advice experience for clients, their families and their businesses. It empowers our advisors to give the right advice at the right time and ensures that ATB Wealth can meet its clients’ current needs and future expectations.
Women in Business
ATB is committed to supporting our business clients who are women, and we aspire to become the leader in the women’s business market amongst financial institutions that operate within Alberta. We are building a foundation within ATB Business to support an intentional, sustainable and horizontal approach.
Our market share growth will be driven by a client-centric experience that goes beyond financial needs and provides a trusted advisor who recognizes and can champion the unique needs of female business owners and leaders.
The strategy includes enabling advisors with Gender Intelligence and Unconscious Bias training and creating a Talent Development program for high-potential female talent within ATB Business. We will also be implementing the internal infrastructure required for data, reporting and analytics and developing the tools and resources our clients who are women need to succeed.
ATB also aspires to be the leader, amongst Alberta financial institutions, in providing Indigenous business owners the products, services and advice needed for their businesses to be successful. Similar to our strategy for serving women in business, we are building an approach within ATB Business to support the unique needs of Albertan Indigenous business owners.
As a foundation for this approach, ATB partnered with a third party to analyze and highlight the economic contributions of the 313,000 Indigenous Peoples living in Alberta—and to understand the potential for growth, in the pursuit of parity.
According to the report Opening the Door to Opportunity, to benefit the long-term prosperity of Alberta, there needs to be an increase of support for Indigenous participation in the labour market, Indigenous entrepreneurship and the growth of Indigenous-owned businesses.
We continue to develop and build strategies around data governance as it relates to our Indigenous clients, with the goal of using that data to enhance the experience and offerings specific to Indigenous businesses and their success.
Artists and Entrepreneurs
ATB continued its support of Alberta’s creative community and entrepreneurs through two unique offerings: the Branch for Arts and Culture and our Entrepreneur Centres.
Our Branch for Arts and Culture has grown substantially over the years, while working with Alberta artists whose career ambitions and financial needs often aren’t accounted for by standard banking policies. Branch for Arts and Culture clients now have more than $55 million on deposit and hold more than $22 million in active loans.
Our Entrepreneur Centres are known for providing both personal and business banking advice and services and for making event space available for networking and learning opportunities. Events have included business planning workshops, sessions about hiring practices, wellness and tax planning, and spotlights on Alberta’s economy. In 2021, the Entrepreneur Centre hosted events online, delivering approximately 30 webinars on similar topics.
Four Directions Financial
ATB and Boyle Street Community Services opened Four Directions Financial in 2016 as a way to remove banking barriers for underserved and sometimes vulnerable community members in Edmonton.
Removing barriers includes navigating the sometimes complex sequence of acquiring and maintaining ID in order to open and access a bank account. Cross-trained staff also ask about new clients’ housing needs, inquire about mental health and addiction issues and offer cultural support. When they can’t help, they refer clients to an organization that can.
After five years in operation, Four Directions has more than 1,500 clients, with 303 new accounts opened over the last year. Clients have maintained an average savings balance of just over $700.
ATB and United Way are entering the 10th year of partnership for Empower U—a financial literacy and matched savings program for people experiencing low income or poverty. Including the match component of the program, participants have saved $1 million over the program’s 10-year history. According to a recent review of participant demographics, the program is made up of approximately 30% Indigenous Peoples and approximately 25% immigrants, and 61% of participants are single women with or without children.
In 2021, financial empowerment sessions continued both in-person and virtually, ensuring that those in need could still participate. As a result, 218 newly enrolled participants have been able to save more than $22,000 and accessed more than $18,000 in matched savings.
Data Privacy and Security
Data Privacy and Security: Our Definition and Approach
Our clients trust us to safeguard their data. To keep that trust and uphold our commitments, we continue to strengthen security and ensure that private data remains private. We also continue to evolve our responsible data policy so nothing is left to chance when it comes to protecting information shared by clients and employees.
We perform a continuous and rigorous testing process of our systems—and the systems of those we partner with—ensuring that everything meets or exceeds industry standards. When gaps are identified, they are proactively managed and addressed.
Detailed information and FAQs can be found on our Privacy and Security web page.
ATB’s Approach to Data Governance
Over the past year, ATB has continued to heighten its awareness and due diligence in data governance.
We engaged the services of leading organizations to ensure that our approach to using data with artificial intelligence (AI) products is both responsible and strategic. By establishing an AI Centre of Excellence, we are also promoting an internal culture that embraces the importance of responsible AI. That includes enhancing our ethical testing practices, as well as identifying and remediating any data quality issues.
Our rollout of e-signature capability continues to expand, providing clients with secure access to documents, while reducing our reliance on paper and shrinking our environmental footprint.
When we wanted to dynamically secure the data in our enterprise data platform—and no commercially available products met our standards for access and security—we developed our own unique solution. A provisional patent application was filed for this innovation.
All ATB Areas of Expertise have been onboarded to our Data Exposure Enablement Platform environment, which has a user satisfaction rating of 75%—exceeding our target of 70%. This has allowed us to gain insights and begin to sunset some of our legacy systems.
Self-Sovereign Digital Credentials
To prevent the unintended sharing of private data, clients need to be able to exercise their personal consent using verifiable credentials. Traditional identity solutions are challenged by accessibility, privacy concerns and data insecurity—issues that have prompted governments, financial institutions and consumers to agree that self-sovereign digital credentials are a necessity.
Our research and innovation arm, ATB Ventures, is collaborating with the federal government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada department to provide the technology platform required to support its national Digital Trust Service proof of concept. This initiative has resulted in ATB Ventures being recognized with the 2022 Channel Innovation Award for Emerging Technologies Guru, with the work underway described as “one of the important emerging technologies in Canada.”
ATB Venture’s blockchain identity management solution, Oliu™, and digital credential wallet, Proof, allow businesses and regulators to develop use cases and issue, use and verify digital credentials in a secure environment.
Self-sovereign identity is now a global movement, and adoption is accelerating. With national identity programs being launched around the world every day, industry standards are emerging to promote compatibility between disparate identity systems. As more individuals are mobile, people are demanding seamless access to services across borders, making interoperability a key driver of success for digital IDs.
Beyond its work with the Government of Canada, ATB Ventures is piloting digital credentials with a diverse range of private sector organizations. We’ve also aligned with key strategic partners like the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada as they establish national digital ID interoperability standards.