They come to work each day to strengthen our relationships with customers and communities.
In this four-part series, we introduce you to some of the dynamic people at TD who are the key players behind our winning customer experience.
It wasn't until he was in his late 20s and embarking on a career in commercial banking that Tim Laronde discovered his First Nation.
"I grew up off-reserve and not knowing anything about my culture," said Laronde, who learned that his family belonged to Nipissing First Nation, an Indigenous community just outside of North Bay, Ontario.
It was an eye-opening experience, and one that would have a profound effect on his career. Today, Laronde serves as TD's Regional Manager for Indigenous Banking for the regions of Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic, and Manitoba.
As part of his role, Laronde coaches bank staff on Indigenous relations, financial requirements and business opportunities. He also provides guidance to local and regional Indigenous leaders on how to create, build and sustain financial prosperity for their communities.
"Our customers may not have the capacity or knowledge about how to allocate capital or invest in funds available to them," he said. "Our goal is to supply them with the knowledge and support they need to help their businesses and communities grow."
These days, Laronde combines his wealth of commercial banking experience with his knowledge of Indigenous communities to help customers plan for their future, and to ensure they make the most of their financial opportunities.
In addition to providing guidance to customers about daily banking activities such as loans, investments, and other banking products, Laronde also helps Indigenous communities with more strategic decisions. For instance, in the case of government land claim settlements that are awarded to Indigenous communities, leaders in those communities may turn to Laronde for support and advice.
Laronde says by uniting the knowledge he gained from working in commercial banking for more than 25 years with his active involvement in Indigenous communities, he is able to help cultivate strong relationships with those people in the communities where he serves.
"Do I need to be Indigenous to work with these communities? The short answer is no," he said. "But having that general understanding of what it means to be Indigenous in our country helps build that financial trust and respect."
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on corporate Canada to lead change through employment, education and the support of Indigenous economic development, and TD is showing commitment to these principles through action.
For instance, TD's Indigenous Banking Group and Indigenous Community Banking Program—initiatives aimed at bringing financial services to remote and rural locations—are just some of the ways TD is actively working to improve the economic success, financial security and self-sufficiency of Indigenous communities.
Laronde believes that working with Indigenous communities is both the "right thing to do" and "good business." According to Statistics Canada, Canada's Indigenous population has grown by more than 40 per cent since 2006, making it the fastest growing demographic in the county.
Offering specialized financial services to Indigenous peoples means helping to develop the bank's future customers: Indigenous youth, he said.
"These are the individuals who will become our next bankers, lawyers, engineers and business owners," he said. "Supporting our Indigenous customers now means paving the way for success for our next generation of leaders.
"My job here is to help make that happen."