Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Equitable Bank was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Equitable Bank helps the next generation gain career-level experience through summer employment, co-op placements and paid internships across a variety of departments -- interns also participate in a welcome lunch with the CEO and Vice President of HR, a dedicated social with senior managers, and a volunteer day
- Equitable Bank also invests in the long-term career development of its employees through a 2-year rotational leadership development program, which provides exposure to various areas of operation within the organization
- Equitable Bank cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and offers a full suite of additional financial benefits including signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all, and referral bonuses of up to $1,500
Equitable Bank places value on values
Equitable Bank does things differently from many other banks. It has no branches or ATMs, believing the future lies in a digital approach where physical cash becomes less important. In 2016, it launched the digital EQ Bank, recently rated the sixth-best digital bank in the world by an industry magazine.
Equitable's lending businesses are primarily related to real estate, from large apartment blocks to houses for self-employed people and new arrivals in Canada.
"We're not a full-service bank and we don't have bricks and mortar," says Jody Sperling, Vice President, Human Resources. "We enable people to own their own homes and improve their credit ratings. We're a values-driven company."
That sense of values extends to the way the bank deals with its employees and the communities it serves.
"We focus on our employees to help them be their absolute best. We want to make working here a really rewarding experience," says Sperling. "Diversity and inclusion are core values in our culture.
"One sign of our diversity is the number of languages our employees speak. No matter what language a customer wants to use, we can usually find a staff member who can talk to them. And we let our employees know that not only can you be who you are, you can celebrate who you are. As long as you share our values, we welcome you."
Teena Stanley has found that to be true. She has worked for Equitable Bank for almost 15 years, initially as an entry-level funder, then moving up to her current position of Senior Funding Manager dealing with residential single-family mortgages.
"It's absolutely a privilege to work here," she says. "They keep employees happy, they listen to us and they allow for work-life balance. There are so many opportunities for growth and personal development. It's a big difference from where I worked before. They have the proper tools to help people and there's support in all different aspects of our lives."
Recently Stanley was the recipient of an unusual level of support from the bank. "The past year and a half have been the darkest time of my life," she explains. "My five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia last year. The company has done so much to help. They went above and beyond to support me, including two fundraisers where they matched the funds raised for SickKids.
"The vice president of HR called regularly and the president called. They always asked after me and my daughter, there was never any pressure to come back to work. But I wanted to, because they'd done so much for me that I had to give back."
Now that her daughter is doing well and is in school again, Stanley has returned to work in the same position as when she left.
Giving back is a recurring theme at Equitable Bank. "There's no question that some of the agencies we support charitably are tied into people we work with on mortgages," says Sperling. "We look to make an impact on agencies that line up with our businesses. We focus on less fortunate areas in cities where we have locations, supporting groups that deal with homelessness or mental illness, for example."
In Toronto, where the bank is based, employees volunteer their time and support for organizations such as 40 Oaks Community Centre, Madison Community Services, Reach for the Rainbow and the Indigenous Women's Group. The bank also offers employment and scholarships to young mothers from Humewood House to help them get back on their feet.
As well, staff members participate in three major charitable events: Ride for Heart, the Plane Pull for ALS Canada and JDRF Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes.
"All our employees know we place great importance on volunteerism in our communities," says Sperling. "It's one of our values and one of the reasons we've been successful."