[INTERVIEW] Larry Tomei, HSBC Bank Canada

Today, we are interviewing Larry Tomei, an executive at HSBC Bank Canada. He will be giving us more insights on the inner workings on their bank and what to look forward to. You may have noticed that HSBC has greatly increased on our rankings over the years, which makes this interview even more exciting. Thank you Larry for taking the time to answer our questions!

Q1: Please tell us about yourself.

I am Larry Tomei Executive Vice President and Head of Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC Bank Canada. I joined HSBC in October 2016 after many years at a Canadian bank.

I come from an immigrant Italian family. My parents came here over 60 years ago to join family members who were already here, settling in Woodbridge and they still haven’t looked back. I also live in Woodbridge with my wife and two children.  It is a great community.

My father ran a barber shop for more than 50 years and I like to think that I do business the same way that he ran his barber shop.  He taught me that every client is important, that every client matters.  You have to put your clients first and it is something that I stress with my team at HSBC.  If we can make our clients happy then everything else takes care of itself.

Q2. What is your role with HSBC Bank Canada?

My role at HSBC Bank Canada is really about looking after our clients and transforming what we do for them.  We have grown deposits, mortgages, managed money, as well as credit cards, and we have also opened branches in major areas and placed private wealth centres in select cities.  We have found new ways to reach our clients through some innovative market campaigns that saw us win three awards at last year’s Canadian Marketing Awards.

I am also proud of our growth in community engagement.  We support the communities we call home, contributing to community programs that have a measurable impact, helping people access those community programs, and supporting employees with paid hours volunteering with their preferred charities

So, I think that it is fair to say that my role at HSBC and what I really like to do is more than just about numbers. It is about people and relationships.  For me, the ultimate goal is to help people succeed, thrive and find their path that leads a client or an employee to achieve their personal and professional success.

Q3: What makes HSBC Bank Canada different from the other banks in Canada?

HSBC is Canada’s leading international bank. I don’t think that there is any bank better placed than HSBC is to serve Canadian companies that are doing business here at home or internationally or individuals with a global outlook.  But what I really love about HSBC is our amazing culture.  As one of the largest banks in the world, we have an amazing culture of diversity and inclusion, and recognising that one the best qualities of people is their difference.

Q4: What would you like Canadians, specifically to benefit the most from your service?

We put the time in, to understand what people really want.

We’ve designed our credit cards with a genuine appreciation of what people are looking for from their card.  We work with our clients and conduct research to make sure that we produce products that hold value in the minds of the cardholders.  This is how we generate strong loyalty to our cards.

For example, we believe that we have the best travel card in the industry with the HSBC World Elite® MasterCard.  Why?  Well, our World Elite card not only allows you to maximize the points collected on travel purchases, to get you to a destination – the World Elite MasterCard also supports you at the destination.  We’ve eliminated the foreign currency transaction charges and we’ve provided great insurance coverage and for longer periods – like our 31 day medical insurance coverage.  And to make your trip more comfortable our cardholders get an annual $100 travel enhancement credit and access to LoungeKey airport lounges.  We believe this puts tremendous value into the pockets of our cardholders because it is seen as an essential product for travel.  Not only does it protect you, but it makes you more comfortable along the way and saves you money.

Our main goal is to take care of our customers in a way that is true to their wants and needs.

Q5. What can we look forward to from HSBC Bank Canada?

We represent something different.

Take our +Rewards MasterCard.  It is a low rate credit card at 11.9% APR that also give you rewards on dining and entertainment purchases.  This isn’t normal within the category.  The general rule is that low rate cards give back very little when it comes to reward points.  Because this card is so unique, we really pushed our partners to see how else we could make it different.  Believe it or not, the card will glow under black light.  Why is this important?  Well, it is because it’s just fun!  It’s a card that rewards cardholders with points for dining and entertaining.  HSBC +Rewards is for going out at night.  Seen in this way, our card really comes alive at night!  It’s a little hidden feature that we thought the cardholder would find fun when they discover it.  What other credit card glows?!

And we’re just getting started.  We’ve launched several new cards in the last 3 years.  We’d consider each one of them uniquely different from what the category expects.  We like being different.  And don’t mind standing out because of this.

Q6: What advice would you give travellers and “Pointshoggers” out there?

Do your homework.  We have.

Every credit card is different.  We believe it’s in our differences where our cardholders win.  We’re not the biggest card issuer in Canada, so we work harder to get noticed.  If more people do their homework and don’t settle for the card their bank offers them, we’re confident they’ll find more value in what HSBC is bringing to the table.  We’re working hard to demonstrate that it pays to be choosy.  We have been choosy when we were picking the benefits for our cards.  And for those that discover us, they’re rewarding our decisions with their continued loyalty to an HSBC credit card.

Q7: Any closing thoughts?

I love Canada and I love to travel. We live in such an amazing country and it is important to see the beauty of Canada, but it is also important to see the rest of the world.

I have been to Italy many times, obviously, and I have been fortunate to visit many countries, such as France, Ireland, the UK, HK, China, Germany, Malaysia, Scandinavia, Aruba, Mexico and of course the US.  Once we can all start travelling again, you need to see Canada, but you also need to see the rest of the world.  Shanghai is amazing!

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