Jagjit Arora was a bank manager in Ludhiana, Punjab. With his wife Sudershan also working at a bank, the family enjoyed a good life.
“We’d heard good things about Canada and thought the kids would have a better future here,” he says.
He came to Canada in 2001, but his own future looked doubtful in the first few months.
“Finding a job was a big challenge as everyone wanted Canadian experience. I had not come with a lot of money, and to pay bills, I took up a survival job in a factory.” His supervisor, also an Indian, took an interest in him. He told Arora that he did all his banking at Scotiabank, that his contact there could give him career tips.
“I had no car, and after my shift ended, I took public transit and landed up at the bank where I asked to see the Personal Banking Officer. He was really helpful and told me how to go about doing my Canadian Securities Course (CSC).”
On completion, Arora landed a job at an investment firm where he worked for a few months. Then he got a call from Scotiabank. They were interested in hiring him.
“I was thrilled to be back at a bank and joined Scotiabank as a Personal Banking Officer in 2002.”
He completed his Professional Financial Planning course and moved up quickly. Today, Arora is Branch Manager at the Orion Gate Branch in Brampton.
Arora understands exactly what a new immigrant needs, and says the Scotiabank StartRight Program covers every aspect.
“The Scotiabank StartRight Program offers a ton of benefits. Take credit cards. I was told I needed one, but couldn’t get one because I didn’t have a credit history. I had to make a deposit in a GIC to get a credit card and had to arrange a co-signer to buy a used car! Like many immigrants, I realized the importance of building credit history when I wanted to purchase a car and a home. Now qualified Scotiabank StartRight customers can get a VISA credit card that helps them build credit history from day one.”
“The Scotiabank StartRight Program was designed to meet the needs of newcomers,” says Ahmad Dajani, Vice-President, Multicultural Banking.
“Newcomers from India and China can actually open an account even before leaving their country,” says Pankaj Mehra, Director, India and South Asia Markets. “They can apply for a VISA credit card and transfer funds, so they hit the ground running on landing in Canada.”
Arora talks of the new immigrant who walked into his branch seeking to open an account. He felt overwhelmed. He didn’t know where to start or what he needed. “Don’t worry about it, just follow me!” Arora said to him, and took him to a Personal Banking Officer.
“Uncleji, you look familiar,” the young man said to Arora. It turned out that he was the son of Arora’s former colleague!
“It’s a small world,” marvels Arora. “He couldn’t believe that not only was he able to open an account, we also gave him a VISA credit card. We explained to him how the Scotiabank StartRight Mortgage Program would help him buy a house down the road.
“Recently I got a call from this young man. In less than eight months of being in Canada, he’s purchased a house. I recall how difficult it was for us, and it makes me happy when I am able to help a newcomer get things sorted out. The Scotiabank StartRight Program allows me to do that.”
His wife Sudershan is now working as a Financial Advisor at a Scotiabank branch in Brampton. Their daughter, Prabhleen, is doing her CA at the University of Waterloo, and son, Gurkanwal, is in high school.
“Coming to Canada was the right decision,” says Arora.
• Jagjit Arora is the Branch Manager, Sales and Service 1 at Scotiabank’s Orion Gate Branch in Brampton, Ontario.