This has been an incredibly difficult year for people around the world and certainly for Albertans. The combined impact of COVID-19 and other economic forces unique to our province has been profoundly challenging. Many Albertans found themselves experiencing changes in employment, with people being furloughed or laid off early in the pandemic, while others struggled to keep their businesses open or adapt to necessary public health measures and changing consumer behaviours.
From the very first days of the global health crisis, ATB has worked closely with our clients to help them access available supports, adapt their business models, and set the stage for post-pandemic recovery. As we look ahead, ATB will continue to find ways to stick by Albertans and offer solutions that address their most urgent economic needs while helping them look ahead to what’s possible. This includes investing in the economic health of our communities, ensuring Albertans have access to banking, helping our most vulnerable citizens, and contributing to social impact. We will also continue to help Albertans in developing the financial literacy skills they need to manage their money and achieve their goals.
|Money spent on goods and services from suppliers||$550 million||$559 million||Continue using a supply base that conforms to and reflects the standards we hold ourselves accountable to.|
|Direct economic value generated and distributed||Economic value generated: $1.7 billion||Economic value generated: $1.8 billion||Grow our direct economic value generated and distributed to the Alberta economy through execution of our Path to 2030 strategic plan|
|Economic value distributed: $1.6 billion||Economic value distributed: $1.6 billion|
|Economic value retained: $102 million||Economic value retained: $211 million|
|Net income (1)||$101.9 million||$210.5 million||Grow our net income through execution of our Path to 2030 strategic plan.|
|Economic profit||$81.6 million||$107.1 million||Grow our economic profit through execution of our Path to 2030 strategic plan.|
|Societal impact (2)||$867 million||$1.0 billion||Grow our societal impact through execution of our Path to 2030 strategic plan.|
|Range of ratios of standard entry-level wages compared to local minimum wage at significant locations of operation||1.063:1||1.063:1||Continue to keep entry-level wages above minimum wage.|
Message from Todd Hirsch, our Chief Economist
Although the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the economy into a record-setting contraction in 2020, the province is on track to recover some of that lost ground, with growth of about 4.1% this year followed by 2.6% growth in 2022. At this rate, Alberta’s economy will surpass its pre-pandemic level by 2023.
We know there are still severe challenges ahead. The recovery will not look the same for everyone across different sectors and income groups. ATB is forecasting a K-shaped recovery. On the upper branch of the K, higher-income earners who didn’t lose their jobs will return to normal and drive consumer spending. At the same time, on the lower branch of the K, lower-income earners may face chronic unemployment because some service-sector businesses will fail to reopen, and emergency government relief programs will wind down. It will be a difficult recovery for too many Albertans.
Capital spending in the oil and gas sector will still be down compared to 2019—already a slow year; however, 2021 is looking better for Alberta’s oil patch. Production bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in November, and prices have also improved significantly, with ATB forecasting an average of US$51 a barrel for 2021. There are also a number of bright spots to watch, including growth in the tech sector, which has attracted investment from several large companies. Agriculture continues to expand, with the cattle industry rebounding quickly from pandemic-related challenges. Total farm cash receipts hit a record high in 2020. The agrifoods, renewable energy, and clean-energy technologies sectors are also expected to do well in 2021 and beyond.
Stepping up to help our clients
COVID-19 relief for our personal clients
In the earliest days of the pandemic, we quickly established a client relief program that provided temporary assistance to our clients to meet their most urgent needs. This included loan deferrals and Mastercard repayment and rate-reduction options. We recognized many situations required individualized solutions, so we worked closely with clients who needed those options.
As many Canadians began applying for the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Government of Canada encouraged the use of direct deposit to improve speed, security, and safety. To make this easier for our clients, ATB quickly incorporated a seamless Canada Revenue Agency registration process into its online banking and mobile-app platforms.
COVID-19 relief for our business clients
When the pandemic arrived, public health measures required many businesses to close or adapt their business models. To help meet the most critical needs of our business clients, ATB created relief programs that offered clients various options for temporary assistance. These options, designed to help them weather the short-term impacts, included principal and interest payment deferrals, working capital loans to sustain operations, and the waiving of merchant fees for clients who had to shut down due to COVID-19.
Supporting CEBA behind the scenes
Over 20,000 ATB clients received more than $1 billion in government-backed capital through CEBA using ATB’s custom process, which differed from our competitors in several ways: ours offered digital authentication and automated application-formatting validation, and we reached out to clients directly who were not approved to offer them alternative solutions. ATB team members worked around the clock to develop, test, and implement the new process to ensure our clients received the support they needed as quickly as possible.