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What changes to the Tim Hortons loyalty program means to Canadians

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TORONTO —
Tim Hortons is overhauling its loyalty program after parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. announced that profits at the coffee chain are down, and its coffee and doughnut giveaways are partly to blame.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. released its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Monday, showing Tim Hortons profits were down, with same-store sales dipping 4.3 per cent in the quarter ended Dec. 31. Sales were down even more in Canada, falling 4.6 per cent in the same period.

RBI CEO Jose Cil blamed the decline on the Tims Rewards loyalty program ballooning to 7.5 million members sooner than expected.

“We’ve attracted far more guests to our loyalty program far more quickly than we had planned,” Cil said during a conference call with analysts. “Despite our recent results, we have a clear plan and believe it’s within our control to restore Tim Hortons to growth in Canada.” To do so, Cil said RBI will launch a “back-to-basics approach” focused on what Tim Hortons is known for — coffee, baked goods and breakfast items — to regain momentum.

Starting Feb. 26, Tims Rewards is changing to what the company calls a points-based system. CTVNews.ca explains what’s changing and how consumers will be affected:

THEN: HOW TIMS REWARDS USED TO WORK

  • Customers with a Tims Rewards card used to be able to redeem for a free coffee or baked good after every seventh purchase

NOW: HOW TIMS REWARDS IS CHANGING

  • Customers with Tims Rewards cards will collect with 10 points for every purchase
  • Cardholders who don’t register their cards (online or on the app) will still receive a coffee, tea or baked good after every 70 points
  • Those who do register can choose one of 14 rewards levels, each comprising a different set of menu item rewards offered for different numbers of points
  • When registered cardholders have enough points, they can redeem for an item in their chosen reward level or continue collecting

HOW IT’LL WORK

  • After collecting 50 points, people will be eligible to start redeeming items
  • Regardless of how many items you purchase, you’ll only receive 10 points per transaction
  • You can bank up to 20,000 points and redeem whenever you order
  • Customers must wait 30 minutes before they can receive another 10 points on their next purchase
  • To be eligible, each purchase has to have a pre-tax total of more than $0.50

WHAT COULD MY POINTS GET ME:

  • 50 points: hash browns, classic doughnut, specialty doughnut, cookies
  • 70 points: brewed coffee, tea, Dream Donuts, bagels and baked goods
  • 100 points: hot chocolate, French vanilla, iced coffee, wedges
  • 140 points: Classic Iced Capp, frozen beverages, espresso drinks, box of 10 Timbits, yogurt, oatmeal
  • 180 points: breakfast sandwiches, soups
  • 220 points: BELT, farmer’s breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, chili

If Tims Rewards members haven’t registered by April 22 they will be automatically bumped into the lowest-tier reward level.

Points expire after one year after you earn them. Tims will also send exclusive offers and birthday rewards to registered members through the new program.

RBI says only 25 per cent of the current 7.5 million members are currently registered.

Despite the upcoming changes, RBI said Tims Rewards is expected to drag down sales for several more quarters.

NEW ROLL UP THE RIM FORMAT

The roll-out of the new loyalty program has pushed back Tim Hortons signature promotion Roll Up the Rim, which runs annually from February to April.

The coffee chain said its iconic contest would undergo a major revamp last year after it failed to boost sales and the company received backlash from environmentalists over its disposable cups.

RBI says a big part of refreshing the promotion will be moving it online. However, Tims has yet to reveal what the new promotion will look like or when it will start.

RBI chief operating officer Joshua Kobza said during the call that the chain wants to give customers time to understand the loyalty program changes before announcing a new Roll Up the Rim format in the coming weeks.

CHANGES IN MILK OPTIONS, COFFEE QUALITY

In addition to the loyalty program changes, RBI said it plans to fix Tim Hortons’ sales performance by elevating the quality of its products. This includes offering skim and almond milk to customers, and improving the quality of bread and bacon used in its sandwiches.

Cil said in the conference call that RBI plans to roll out fresh coffee brewers for a better-tasting and more consistent cup of coffee. The technology is in place at more than 2,000 locations and Cil said it will be installed in remaining stores by mid-year.

The plan will also see Tims take a step back from experimenting with new menu items that stray from its “core values.” Tim Hortons wiped Beyond Meat burgers from its menu in September, two months after introducing the alternative-protein product at most of its nearly 4,000 locations across Canada.

“These adjustments may seem basic, but that’s the point: being the absolute best at the basics that we’re already famous for,” said Cil.

With files from The Canadian Press

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TD Bank CFO Ahmed to head securities unit, move seen as CEO succession play

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TD Bank Group on Thursday named Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed chief executive of its securities unit and head of wholesale banking, a move some investors interpreted as a sign he will succeed CEO Bharat Masrani.

For Ahmed, 58, the change marks a return to his TD roots. He began his career at the bank in 1996 as an investment banker in the securities division, following which he served as its CFO and chief administrative officer. He has been part of TD Bank‘s executive team for nine years, and CFO for over five.

“Cross-training in the capital markets role … increases the likelihood of (Ahmed) succeeding Masrani when he retires, but I doubt it would be soon, as that would create unnecessary turnover atop TD Securities,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel.

“Maybe Masrani announces his retirement next year (or the following) and leaves early in 2023” or 2024.

Masrani’s compensation arrangements anticipated his retirement in 2020, TD said in its 2019 shareholders meeting proxy circular. But he was granted stock options worth C$1.9 million ($1.5 million), vesting in five years, on the condition that he remain available to serve as CEO throughout that period.

Ahmed replaces Bob Dorrance, who will retire on Sept. 1 after about 16 years at the bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender by market value said in a statement.

When asked about TD’s succession plans, a spokesperson said: “Today we are celebrating Bob Dorrance’s incredible career and accomplishments, and the appointment of top executives to critical, leadership roles.”

At a time when diversity, particularly in executive and board ranks, has come under increased scrutiny, Ahmed’s appointment as CEO would mean TD, the only one of Canada’s six biggest lenders to have a non-Caucasian at its helm, would retain that aspect.

Ahmed’s appointment comes after TD’s wholesale banking unit recorded an 8% revenue decline in the second quarter from a year ago, contributing to the bank’s overall underperformance versus some rivals.

Kelvin Tran, currently executive vice president for enterprise finance, will replace Ahmed as finance chief.

Dorrance, who has headed TD Securities since 2005, will stay on as chairman of TD Securities and serve as special adviser to Masrani.

TD shares were flat at C$87.12 on Thursday afternoon, compared with a 0.2% gain in the Toronto stock index. The shares are up 21% this year, versus a 15% gain in the benchmark.

($1 = 1.2303 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruEditing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life

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Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon

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Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 


Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 


Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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