PC Financial

President's Choice Financial (PC Financial) is a unique financial services institution that provides banking services. It was created in 1996 as a part of a joint venture between the large Canadian bank CIBC and Loblow Companies, a supermarket chain. Because PC Financial is banking division of CIBC, it has the same bank number as the former.

The company has several services on its roster. These are checking and savings accounts, secured and unsecured lines of credit, loans, GIC, RRSP, TFSA, mortgages, and mutual funds. The daily banking services of PC Financial do not come with any fees due to the fact that the company does not maintain any branches. The mutual fund, which is the newest offering of PC Financial, manages $3.9 billion in 13 index funds. It is the only index fund in Canada that tracks the Wilshire 5000, the biggest equity index in the United States.

PC Financial functions by partnering with several key companies. Most of its standard bank products, such as checking and savings accounts as well as loans and mutual funds, are handled by CIBC. The MasterCard services offered by PC Financial are provided by President’s Choice Bank.

When it comes to insurance, PC Financial offered services such as vehicle and home insurance. These services were discontinued in 2009 after structural changes in the company were made. However, they were reinstated in the first month of 2010 under a separate broker model. Insurance is now made possible by PC Financial Insurance Agency Inc. President’s Choice Bank and PC Financial Insurance Agency are both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Loblaw Companies.

PC Financial is different from other business banking services in that it has no branches. Instead, it relies on the internet, telephone, and automated teller machines to provide banking hours at all hours of the day. Banking may also be done through pavilions found in Loblaw stores. As of January 2009, there are 234 of these pavilions found all over Canada, except in Quebec where not all PC Financial services are available. PC Financial serves 2.3 million personal or individual customers. Business accounts have not yet been established for PC Financial.

In line with its method of operations, PC Financial relies on a three-pronged application system. Clients can apply for an account online, through a home call, or in person. The processing time of online applications may take up to three weeks to provide enough time for financial verification. Phone applications may take up to a week, depending on the type of product or service applied for. Appling for an account in person with PC Financial at a pavilion may take as little as a couple of minutes.

The philosophy of the company is to provide “unprecedented value”. In addition to the services already offered by PC Financial, there is also the PC Points, a rewards program that allows points to be earned through banking activities or purchases with the PC Financial MasterCard. Products such as household items and groceries may be redeemed from these points. According to CIBC, PC Financial has a little over 3 million clients.