The path to success looked smooth to Avnish Soni and his wife Pinki when they attended a New Delhi seminar about immigrating to Canada.
Unfortunately, no one could anticipate the global economic crisis that greeted them in British Columbia in early 2009. Today, through personal persistence – and support from Scotiabank – the couple are progressing towards their goals.
Back at the 2008 seminar sponsored by Scotiabank, the Soni family was excited about moving to Canada. Bank representatives explained financial services to help them get established in their new country, and Avnish, an MBA-trained branch manager at one of India’s largest banks, was excited by the prospect of seeking work at the Canadian bank.
“I’m a go-getter and I liked how Scotiabank was proactive in sharing settlement information and prearranging banking and credit services,” recalls Avnish, referring to the Scotiabank StartRight Program for Newcomers, which includes a free day-to-day bank account for one year, a wide range of VISA card options and a number of other customized services and benefits. “I decided to make Canada’s most international bank the first target in my job search.”
On arrival in Surrey, BC, the experienced banker was pleasantly surprised when the Scotiabank Branch Manager emerged from his office to welcome the couple and their two daughters. “I was astonished by the friendly service and how our account and debit cards were waiting for us, as promised in New Delhi,” says Avnish, who adds that his unsecured VISA credit card was ready within a week.
While the weak economy challenged the Sonis’ immediate career hopes, the Scotiabank Branch Manager accepted Avnish’s resumé and offered career tips. Pinki applied her teaching degree as a tutor.
“We stayed positive and kept working at it,” notes Avnish, who worked odd jobs while he studied for his mutual funds licence, joined professional associations, and often visited the Scotiabank branch to keep in touch. His determination paid off when 18 months later he was hired into the Bank training program.
Recently promoted to Senior Personal Banking Officer at Scotiabank’s suburban White Rock Branch, Avnish is eager to dispense tips on personal finance, government services and career-building. “A newcomer has many fears of the unknown, and my goal is to be their friend who is a banker, showing them how to lower expenses, manage credit, and learn how Canada works.”
Career-wise, Avnish tells newcomers to stick with their goals, despite the hurdles. “Take a job to put food on the table, but don’t lose focus on what you want to do. Work on your language skills, learn about job market expectations and see how you can add value,” he says.
Perseverance also helps new-comers reach financial goals. “It’s never too early to start a financial plan, and I guide newcomers on ways to start saving for a home or any goal. For my family and me, our journey has just begun, but we’ve got something to aim for and that’s why we came here.”
• Avnish Soni is a Senior Personal Banking Officer at Scotiabank’s White Rock Branch in Surrey, British Columbia, and can be reached at 604-541-3400.