Small Business
2003 Public Accountability Statement
Message to Stakeholders white divider Communities white divider Employee Involvement white divider Community Development white divider Environment white divider Customers white divider Small Business white divider Employee Satisfaction white divider Corporate Information white divider Appendices
PAS page 46 image Scotiabank recognizes that small businesses are a driving force in the Canadian economy, since they account for almost 80 per cent of Canada's total business market and create more jobs than any other sector of the economy. We are committed to providing easy access to our financial services and expertise, forging partnerships to support small business goals and developing products that respond to the challenges faced by small business owners.

Small Business

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Convenient service and solutions [ top ]

Every Scotiabank branch in Canada has a small business banker who can provide guidance and advice for both business and personal financial needs. More than 1,500 dedicated bankers are available to offer a wide range of services that cover every stage in the development of a small business. We have developed a free online Business Plan Writer to help small business owners think through their needs and goals, forecast business decisions and plan for success.

Since small business needs extend beyond basic access to credit, we have designed a range of practical solutions with features that matter to small business customers, including our day-to-day business account packages. In January 2003, we introduced the Money Master for business™ account that offers a high rate of interest.

We also develop products that recognize the close connection between a small business owner's personal and business requirements. For example, we offer a mortgage that makes it easier for commissioned sales people or the self-employed to qualify to buy a home with as little as a 15 per cent down payment.

Today's small business owners have increasingly complex financial needs, so our branch staff receive support from a team of experts in the Small Business Resource Centre, which provides fast, detailed answers to customer inquiries via phone or e-mail. As these organizations grow and prosper, we can refer them to our Commercial Banking services or RoyNat Capital, our merchant bank for mid-sized enterprises, where teams with specialized expertise can serve their evolving business needs.

Partnering to support small business goals [ top ]

We continue to work in partnership with key small business associations, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and several professional organizations, to offer preferred banking services and discounts to thousands of small business owners.

We are a founding member of the new Dental Learning Centre, a facility offering professional education in dentistry and related areas. New alliances have been formed with the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia to provide financing options for small business owners.

Micro credit programs [ top ]

Scotiabank provides small-scale financing to promote community economic development through the Community Futures program and regional economic development agencies across Canada. In the Niagara region, for example, we are investors in the Niagara Growth Fund, which provides equity investments to small businesses.

Dealing fairly with small business [ top ]

To ensure that we serve the small business community in a fair, clear and transparent manner, we have worked with the Canadian Bankers Association to develop a Small and Medium-Sized Business Code of Conduct to govern relationships with these businesses. It is based on openness and accountability, and also outlines the credit application and complaint handling processes. (See more details on p. 12)

As part of Scotiabank's credit process, if we can't approve a credit application, we will explain why and, where appropriate, we will either work with the customer to improve the proposal or try to direct them to other sources of financing.

Helping provide education [ top ]

In addition to the products and services we provide, Scotiabank believes that it can help Canadian small businesses grow and succeed by bringing small business owners together through special events and educational programs to meet, share ideas, and hear from financial and industry experts. In 2003, we held more than 20 town hall meetings in communities across Canada, where Scotiabank small business and economics experts, plus members of small business associations, shared information on issues such as planning, financing and marketing a start-up business.

In Toronto, the small business team hosted a well-attended seminar for the Italian business community to share timely business and economic information with entrepreneurs and professionals. The team has been focused on better serving the needs of the Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Caribbean and Asian business communities by hosting seminars and special events.

Supporting the farming community [ top ]

Scotiabank supports Canada's agricultural industry by playing a lead role in traditional and vendor financing. We have provided financing for livestock and feed inputs for customers of Agricore United under a unique alliance, as well as crop input financing through the independent dealer outlets of Univar Canada.

For 19 years, we have sponsored Canada's premier junior dairy show - the Scotiabank Hays Classic - held annually at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The event fosters youth leadership in rural communities through the 4-H clubs of Canada, helping to build the next generation of agricultural business owners. This year, more than 300 finalists from across Canada brought their calf projects to this event.

In 2003, the discovery of a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (better known as BSE or "mad-cow") disease, and the closure of foreign markets to Canadian beef exports, significantly affected customers in the cattle industry. Scotiabank small business bankers proactively worked with their customers, taking a client-by-client approach and contacting each customer to discuss their projected cash needs and to develop a management plan. Our patient approach enabled clients, the cattle industry and governments to properly deal with the crisis. A number of western Canada Scotiabank branches also hosted charity barbecues, serving Alberta beef, to help support the beleaguered industry.

Innovative solutions for small business needs [ top ]

Scotiabank continues to introduce new promotions and initiatives to serve small business owners.
For example:

  • In June, we brought back a popular cash back offer, in which customers could receive cash back for one per cent of the value of new term loans up to $250,000. By putting money back into the pockets of small business owners, the cash back offer allows them to use the money where they need it most. The campaign was promoted actively via radio advertising, account statement stuffers to existing customers, in branch marketing materials, and on the small business section of scotiabank.com.
  • We participated in a new VISA® Savings for Business program offered by VISA® Canada in September 2003 that provides online savings on all kinds of business expenses, - from office supplies to software and hardware.
  • Scotiabank joined forces with Vubiz, an online learning organization, to provide low-cost certified business programs for small business owners. Courses involve practical training modules that are interactive and cover topics from financial and strategic management to international trade.