WP sat down with Manulife Bank CEO Rick Lunny last week to discuss debt, banking and all things in between – and he had some interesting insights.
Ostensibly, we were at Manulife’s Toronto headquarters to discuss the bank subsidiary’s findings from its most recent bank debt survey. However, with Lunny in the top job for just six months, WP was also interested in hearing how he was enjoying things.
So far so good, apparently.
Upbeat about his short time with the bank, he suggested that his background in retail banking was very complimentary in a corporate culture that leans towards the insurance side of the business. No neophyte when it comes to banking, he’s got more than 25 years of experience, much of it involving lending.
Despite being a seasoned veteran, some of the debt survey’s findings were extremely surprising. Probably none more so than the fact one-quarter of the respondents (ages 20 to 59, household income greater than $50,000) don’t consider their mortgage and vehicle loans debt. The results don’t explain why this is although when pressed, Lunny reasoned that because they’re monthly payments some might view them in the same vain as services such as a phone bill.
When it comes to the result findings, Lunny stresses three points: 1) Establish a financial plan earlier in life; 2) Take stock of your current debt situation; and 3) Take this knowledge and meet with a financial advisor, preferably someone from Manulife (our emphasis, not his).
Moving beyond the survey results, Lunny expounded on Manulife Bank’s value-added proposition. Focusing on niche products within the banking sector, WP asked about Manulife One, its all-in-one account that comingles one’s mortgage, savings and income into one multi-purpose “borrowing and chequing” account.
Ideal for anyone who owns a home, Manulife One is one part of the financial solution provided by advisors. Interestingly, Manulife Bank just added Manulife One for Business, which allows businesses owning their own properties to utilize the same multi-purpose account to simplify their banking, reduce interest expense and become debt-free years earlier.
Lastly, we asked Lunny how he balances the findings of the survey which indicate Canadians need to do a much better job managing debt with the profit-driven needs of shareholders. The banker replied, “I’ve found in my career that when you act in the best interests of clients, everything else works out.”
That’s definitely what you want to hear from your bank and banker.