Briefing

Royal Bank of Canada looks to digital ventures as it reports slowest growth in a decade

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The bank posted a 3.5 per cent earnings increase for 2019. Adjusted per-share earnings for the fourth quarter were $2.22, five cents short of analysts’ expectations. However, the bank announced it had made connections with 3.2 million Canadians via apps developed under its RBC Ventures initiative. (The Logic)

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Talking point: RBC is hoping to turn app users into bank customers via an aggressive push in 2020. In June 2018, the bank announced a plan to get 500,000 new customers in five years via its ventures subsidiary. So far, it’s made about 50,000 conversions without much marketing spend behind the 17 ventures it’s launched. Fourteen more are under development. Capital markets profit dropped 12 per cent and investment banking fees are down 17 per cent. The bank also spent $113 million on severance-related costs in the quarter as it made cuts in Europe and Australia. RBC is not the only Canadian bank cutting staff: on Tuesday, BMO reported a $484-million restructuring charge, mostly for severance payments.