As the country’s population becomes increasingly foreign-born, Canada’s top financial institutions are finding unique ways to attract and cater to immigrants.
Common issues faced by newcomers include adjusting to the complex tax system as well as the use of Canadian currency, which includes colloquialisms such as the reference to the dollar coin as a “loonie.” Banks are one of the premier sources of such information to immigrants.
This fact is reflected in the increasing tendency toward hiring multilingual employees who are able to serve clients in their mother tongue as well as stronger marketing efforts directed toward newcomer communities.
However, some immigrant advocates say that more could be done to ensure a smooth financial transition. For instance, banks could make it easier for new arrivals to open accounts before landing in Canada, either using phone or internet services.
One of the most critical areas in which immigrants are often unfamiliar is the Canadian credit system. In order to make larger purchases such as houses or cars it is necessary to have established a good credit rating in the country. This can be an even bigger challenge for new arrivals, many of whom may not have experience with credit in their native country. Most banks will require a co-signer in order to give loans to candidates with little or no Canadian credit history.
Thanks to an influx of newcomers in recent years, however, most Canadian banks are now familiar with the unique needs of immigrants and are able to provide the necessary resources and information. Additionally, Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides financial information and resources through their website.
Source: Toronto Star