Equitable Bank’s comprehensive financial literacy seminars led to a win in the Financial wellness category at Benefits Canada’s 2022 Workplace Benefits Awards on Oct. 18.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the bank had to pivot quickly to continue providing quality financial wellness education to employees, says Jasmine Kong, the organization’s human resources generalist. Equitable Bank partnered with some of its network financial service providers to deliver webinars to employees on topics of interest, including estate planning, protecting family finances, retirement readiness and inflation.

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Attendance at these webinars increased by 900 per cent compared to when the company held seminars in the office, largely due to convenience, she says. “Not only were employees engaged and eager to learn about these topics for themselves, but they were passing on the recording of the webinar to their friends and family as well.”

Equitable Bank also provides a high-interest savings account for employees, with an additional 0.25 per cent staff interest rate, she explains, noting roughly 75 per cent of new employees have taken advantage of this offer.

The bank also offers a group registered retirement savings plan and a deferred profit-sharing plan, with the employer contributing three per cent to the DPSP even if employees can’t make personal contributions to the RRSP. “We have 99 per cent participation of eligible employees in the DPSP,” says Kong. “Employees have commented that they feel more empowered to invest in their futures as they gain more knowledge and tools to make decisions for themselves.”

In order to continue developing the financial wellness program, Kong hopes to establish partnerships with other financial firms on topics like investments and retirement, so the bank can further educate and support its employees. “Finances affect every aspect of our lives, so I think it’s important we help employees to be equipped and empower them with whatever seminars or tools we can provide.”

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