General Bank of Canada is a Schedule 1 Chartered bank headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. Our mission is to help our customers achieve their goals by offering innovative and competitive priced loan and deposit products and the best service levels in the business. We have been in business since 2005.
Our roots go back to Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, where our founder, Donald H. Wheaton Sr. worked at the local general store. Along with three partners, he became part owner of a small General Motors dealership in town. The partners soon realized the car business wasn’t for them, and Don Sr. became the sole owner. In 1961, a large dealership in Edmonton became available and General Motors offered him the opportunity to take it over. Along with his wife and family, Don moved to Edmonton and took over what was to become Don Wheaton Chevrolet Oldsmobile.
In the mid-1980s, our founder and his family saw an opportunity to offer finance and insurance products to car buyers through dealerships, starting with creditor life and disability insurance and later, extended warranties.
The next area of expansion was into banking. General Bank of Canada was launched in 2005. With only three employees at the time, we made our first auto loan in July 2005. Today, we employ almost 50 employees, including a sales force across the country, and have helped over 120,000 Canadians with their auto loan needs. Over recent years, we have diversified into new business lines, including commercial lending and aviation financing.
The success of General Bank of Canada is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our founder and employees. We are proud to carry on the tradition of treating people well, doing business ethically, and mastering our craft.
We are committed to adhering to the highest levels of integrity, honesty, fairness, and governance. We view compliance not as a goal but as an outcome of the way we do business.
We are cautious with deposit clients’ savings and seek to deeply understand and appreciate the risk embedded in the loans we make. Risk management is embedded throughout our process and organization rather than a standalone function.
Our success is a testament to our employees’ entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic and can-do attitude. These are core to who we are and we enjoy working with others who share similar values.
MASTERING OUR CRAFT
We strive to get better at what we do and are constantly looking for ways to evolve our business. Despite our best intentions, we sometimes make mistakes; we see these missteps as learning experiences and key to our long-term success.
We are passionate about giving back to the community that supports us. Through our campaign with the United Way, we are dedicated to helping those who are in need.
We seek to hire the brightest individuals who share our values, offer them meaningful work and a positive culture, and set a high bar for them. As a result, we enjoy a stable workforce with low turnover.
Every day, our customers decide who they want to do business with. We compete for this business on the basis of exceptional products and exceptional service. Our highly qualified staff understand our customers’ needs and are focused on ensuring a positive experience.
I joined GBC because I’m a career business banker, with a passion for small business. When I left ATB Financial, I was looking for a small business to be involved with. GBC had just received its charter, and was by any definition a small business – in an industry where I had many years of experience, and with a shareholder I’d known for almost 20 years.
I love the banking sector because it puts you in contact with so many entrepreneurs who have vision, passion, and capital to invest. The way that banking interacts with private capital to create new business – jobs, opportunities, and growth in the economy – is truly fascinating. At the consumer level, banks really do help people achieve their aspirations, whether it’s home ownership, a new car, or saving for retirement.
The key to success in business is doing the right thing. Also, being open to other views and willing to change…nothing should be so cast in stone that you can’t change your mind about it.
I grew up wanting to be a pilot. I’m fascinated by everything related to aviation. I love to fly, I’ve taken ground school training, and I’m actively on about a dozen aviation related web sites and flight tracker apps.
I’m committed to the success of GBC. We are a tremendous Canadian banking success and I never get tired of telling our story.
Outside of work my newest passion is cycling. I’m up to five bikes and 6,000 km a year. I’m fitter and healthier now than I’ve ever been.
GBC is a case study for a highly efficient, virtual business. The combination of fewer than 50 staff, well developed technology and processes, critical portals providing virtual reach to a large customer base spanning 5 provinces, and a modest sales force all come together to produce a very impressive result. The most important ingredient is the staff – everyone is critical, everyone is a contributor.
I enjoy the banking sector because it is a highly conceptual, creative environment, focused on the gearing of capital, liquidity, and leverage. As an accountant in a bank, I particularly enjoy the process of imagining, then managing risk.
The keys to success in business are twofold: 1) identify a marketplace need that, once satisfied, generates profit, and 2) create a culture and environment that lures and retains great staff.
I grew up in Ottawa, and in the spirit of “go West young man”, moved to Edmonton in 1986. Alberta is an amazing province and is a place I am proud to call home.
Other areas of interest that complement my ‘day job’ include linking practice, teaching, and research through long term involvement with academic institutions (MacEwan University’s School of Business, NAIT, CPA, and Athabasca University) as an Accounting instructor and coach. Post-secondary involvement allows me to stay connected with students a.k.a. tomorrow’s leaders.
Outside of work I enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. I’m also an enthusiast photographer, allowing my camera to take me to places of scenery and solitude.
I joined GBC for the opportunity to work for a small, vibrant organization with a great group of people that are committed, professional, and determined. The hard work that each individual displays on a daily basis is what allows this organization to compete against the largest banks in the country.
I love the banking sector because it provides the opportunity to learn about different aspects of business including risk management, retail credit, commercial lending, compliance, treasury, liquidity, project management, IT, and many more. It offers a glimpse into the dynamic integration required to function as a team.
The key to success in business is to surround yourself with good people, put them in roles that maximize their talents, provide the resources they require, and then stay out of their way.
I grew up a huge Edmonton Oilers fan and remain a passionate fan today. Hopefully, under the leadership of their new captain, the fans will be able to see more winning seasons over the coming years. Go Oilers Go!
I’m committed to improvement. Everyday affords me the opportunity to be a better family member, friend, co-worker, and student. I never get tired of learning new things and implementing them across various facets of my life.
Outside of work I enjoy exploring the great connected trail system in the Edmonton River Valley. It is a wonderful way to enjoy nature while still in the city, and with over 160 kilometers of trails, there is always something new to discover.
I joined GBC because of the excitement and challenge involved with joining a ground-floor opportunity. It’s important to make the most of oneself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
I love the business of people! I love to build the relationship, build the trust, and hopefully earn the business in the end.
I obsess over making sure things are done right to ensure the success of this little Canadian bank.
I grew up on a farm outside of Edmonton, riding 14 horses to keep them exercised for the racetrack. I grew up in a great family that emphasized values, morals, and work ethic.
I'm passionate about seeing the world from the mountain tops on the back of my horse Cotter. Everything seems to melt away and just that moment is all that matters. Nature and peace at its best!
Outside of work my favorite thing to do is to socialize with the ones I love. There’s nothing better than great food, great conversation, and laughs. She who laughs, lasts!
I joined GBC because of the opportunity to establish and build out a commercial division from scratch. To be able to do this for one of the most entrepreneurial and respected business families in Western Canada was icing on the cake.
I love the commercial banking business because of the thrill of the deal. That, and the long term relationships that I have established over the years because of what I do day-to- day.
The key to success in business is a passion for what you do, managing customer expectations, and remembering that there are only so many hours in a day so they should be spent wisely.
Outside of work my favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends. If I get to do that while riding my bike or hiking, all the better.
I’m passionate about cycling, which has resulted in needing a bigger garage as I now sit at 8 bikes and counting. As the saying goes, the right number of bikes is N+1 where N is the current number of bikes you own.
I grew up in small town Alberta (Ponoka) with a love for sports. I have always tried to maintain those small town values no matter where my life’s journey has taken me.
Karen GrahamDirector of Administration and Operations
I joined GBC initially on contract as a project manager for a software upgrade. Ten years later, I still enjoy re-engineering our processes and fostering change. It is exciting to identify an issue, be part of the solution design, follow through on implementation and testing, and finally see the positive impact operationally once the project is completed. And, of course, do it all again!
I am committed to ensuring our customers have a positive GBC experience, and my staff have a constructive work environment where everyone is encouraged by the success of the organization as a whole.
Outside of work my favorite thing to do is to spend time with family. My ultimate relaxation is to sit on a beautiful patio or deck (ideally in a tropical climate, but Edmonton works too!) and enjoy a glass of fine wine.