LONDON, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific & Western Bank of Canada (TSX:PWB) (the “Bank”) is planning to change its name to VersaBank. Approval from shareholders for this change will be sought at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting, being held on Wednesday, April 27th at 11:30am at the VersaBank Technology Centre of Excellence, the Bank’s new office, located at 1979 Otter Place, London, Ontario, on the premises of the London International Airport. It is expected that following the AGM, and subsequent regulatory approval of the name change, the Bank will formally begin trading under a new Toronto Stock Exchange symbol, “VB”, which has been reserved for the Bank.
There are several new and exciting initiatives as part of this rebranding; the name change and new office move mark the first in a series of changes related to how the Bank will be positioned and presented in the marketplace. The Bank will, however, continue to operate as a commercial bank and is not planning on providing any retail services. As the Bank continues to grow and evolve, David Taylor, President & CEO, along with its Board and Management, felt it was time to change its name to one which more accurately illustrates the Bank’s focus on technology and its branchless model.
History of the name Pacific & Western Bank:
Mr. Taylor originally inherited the name in 1993 when acquiring Pacific & Western Trust, a small Saskatchewan based trust company. The acquisition of the trust company provided Mr. Taylor an operating license and CDIC insurance, both necessary to launch his new, branchless banking platform. Following the acquisition, Mr. Taylor relocated the head office to London, Ontario; southern Ontario has served as the primary geographic market for the Bank's loan portfolio growth ever since. On August 1, 2002, the trust company was licensed as a Schedule I Canadian chartered bank by the Government of Canada, marking the first Schedule I banking license issued in 18 years.
Evolution to VersaBank:
Pacific & Western was Canada’s first financial institution investing in branchless technology and sophisticated software systems to service its clients, both for lending and for raising deposits. All of the Bank’s software was developed and written in-house, by its specialized IT team, since the software industry had not yet developed any such banking software; simply stated, in both its development of technology and its branchless platform, the Bank was Canada’s original fintech pioneer.
In 2007 the Bank incorporated Versabanq Innovations Inc. (“Versabanq Innovations”) to be the owner of its unique in-house, branchless banking and Basel III compliant software. Further to the Bank’s news release of March 14, 2016, http://pwbank.com/investor/news/?y=2016&n=29, announcing the nomination for election to the Board of Directors of Mr. Avery Pennarun, a Senior Staff Software Engineer at Google Fiber Inc., the Bank’s Management and Board are very pleased to have Mr. Pennarun standing for election as a Director at the Bank. Mr. Pennarun brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding Versabanq Innovations as a founder and its prior Executive Vice President of Software Development.
VersaBanq Innovations and the Bank’s IT team have consistently been at the forefront of the banking technology industry, having built the Bank’s platform for both its lending portfolio and deposit raising activities on advanced technology, without the need for branches. As the Bank further evolved, Mr. Taylor recognized a more suitable name for the Bank would be needed; one which more appropriately reflected its operations and its true place in the market.
David Taylor stated: “Pacific & Western Bank has truly evolved into a very ‘versatile’ bank and its name is now simply no longer an accurate fit. The name change to VersaBank, along with our move into the new VersaBank Technology Centre of Excellence is an important step in the branding of VersaBank, and places us more appropriately where our Bank’s actual focus is in the marketplace. We are a branchless bank, reliant on systems and software, a primary enabler of the Canadian Fintech industry, and we play a significant and much needed role in helping to bridge the financing gap for small to medium sized businesses.”
Following in the tradition of developing advanced technology, the Bank established a program in 2011 to purchase electronically, large volumes of lease and loan receivables from a variety of independent originators, with minimal risk to the Bank. Through this origination channel, the Bank provides funds to thousands of consumers, as well as small businesses across Canada. The Bank recently reached a $1 Billion milestone in receivables acquired through this new channel, placing it as one of the larger participants in the rapidly growing Canadian Fintech and non-bank origination market. This growth has been realized while the Bank continues in its tradition of minimal loan losses, and in recent years, of zero loan losses.
About Pacific & Western Bank of Canada
Pacific & Western Bank of Canada, a highly versatile and technologically proficient Canadian Schedule I chartered bank, operates using an “electronic branchless model”. It sources deposits, consumer loans, commercial loans and leases electronically. PWB also makes residential development and commercial mortgages it sources through a well-established network of brokers and direct contact with its lending staff. PWB’s common shares trade on Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PWB.
Visit our website at: http://www.pwbank.com