City National Bank

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City National Bank Overview

Founded in 1954 by a small group of local entrepreneurs and currently operating through 71 offices, City National Bank (CNB) provides customized private banking and wealth management solutions to its clients along their with families and businesses. Among other means, CNB generates referrals through Kiosk, a full-service marketing agency, which helps in referring business owners, entrepreneurs, and clients seeking business banking and wealth planning services to the bank through TV, print media, and digital executions.


While we were able to find most of the required information through the bank's website among other sources, information on its employees' perceptions of its digital experience was not readily available. We started our search by looking through employee review portals like Glassdoor, Indeed, kununu, and LinkedIn, among others to find information on employee perceptions of the company's digital experience, but these sources only mentioned general employee perceptions of the bank in relation to pay and benefits, culture, work-life balance, and management, without specificity to the digital experience.

We then looked for surveys/reviews of CNB's digital experience through third-party sources that generally provide surveys/ perceptions about companies like Forrester Digital Experience and Organization Survey, Qualtrics, VHTCX, and G2Crowd, among others, but did not find any surveys/reviews of CNB's digital experience or CNB as a whole that showed its employees' perceptions.

Lastly, we tried accessing the City National Digital Experience Community, but the platform is only accessible through a subscription which allows the subscriber to review early digital product concepts, evaluate existing digital services, and meet with the User Experience team. It did not showcase employee perceptions of CNB's digital experience.
After attempting to identify the employee perceptions of CNB's digital experience from the above strategies, we concluded that the information is not available precompiled. We then went on to triangulate the answer. We assumed that the general employee perception of e-banking or banks' digital experience in the industry would be similar to CNB's employees' perceptions of its digital experience.


City National Bank was founded in 1954 by a small group of local entrepreneurs and currently operates through 71 offices, including 19 full-service regional centers.


City National Bank provides customized private banking and wealth management solutions to its clients along their with families and businesses. The bank provides complete financial solutions to entrepreneurs and professionals as well.


The bank provides personal and business banking services to its clients. City National Bank also provides the following products and services to its customers: commercial banking, private banking, preferred banking, small business banking, wealth management, services for professional firms, international banking, treasury management services, entertainment industry services, real estate services, and online services.
Its personal banking services include checking accounts, savings accounts, preferred banking, financial calculators, check cards, credit cards, gift card, rewards program, investment management, brokerage services, trust services, planning, financial calculators, lines of credit, loans, home equity lines, mortgage loans, direct connect with Quicken, international banking online, investment account view, mobile banking, money market transfer, online banking, online brokerage, portfolio review, lending solutions, investment planning, and trusts.
Its business banking services include check card, checking accounts, savings accounts, financial calculators, prepaid cards, business overdraft lines, commercial accounts payable, credit cards, equipment leasing, franchise financing, interest rate risk management, loans & lines of credit, real estate financing, working capital, accounting integration, electronic deposits, fraud prevention, payment solutions, currency management, export finance, foreign currency service, trade services, wires, industry expertise on entertainment, food & beverage, franchise, finance, healthcare, HOA & property management, legal services, ports & logistics, technology, title & escrow services, business online, CityTax, EASI Link, E-Deposit, international banking online, investment account view, mobile access, money market transfer, online brokerage, online loan transfers, online wholesale lockbox, portfolio review, Stuckynet-Link, Treasury Net, and Quickbooks Direct Connect.


  • City National Bank brands and gains referrals from its latest campaign which brands the bank as “the bank built on client referrals.” Kiosk, a full-service marketing agency, helps in referring business owners, entrepreneurs, and clients seeking business banking and wealth planning services to City National Bank through TV, print media and digital executions. Kiosk is also building awareness for City National Bank with a smartly-targeted media mix to help gain more referrals/customers.
  • City National Bank also gets references for new customers directly through family, friends, and business partners for a personal level of service and attention from the bank.
  • Some customers are also referred to the bank by their CPAs.
  • The relationship managers and senior relationship managers of the bank across the country are responsible for making calls and asking for referrals from existing customers.


While no specific employee perception of CNB’s digital experience was available, not even from the City National Digital Experience Community (“DXC”), the general employee perception of e-banking or banks' digital experience shows that 48% feel it increases branch productivity, 56% feel it increases employee productivity, and 60% see innovation in products and services as a result.
City National Bank's reviews on Glassdoor have been given a 3.7-star rating out of 5 for its great culture, growth opportunities, professionalism, and having "good people." As per a few employees, the bank needs to improvise with the new world and can do with better management.
On Indeed in the US, City National Bank got an overall 3.8-star rating out of 5 with a 4.1-star rating in work-life balance, 3.6 in pay and benefits, 2.9 in job security and advancement, 2.9 in management, and 3.1 in culture.
Twenty-four City National Bank employees reviewed the company on kununu with 54.17% rating it as excellent, and 20.83% as good. The overall score of the bank was a 3.65-star rating with a 78% recommendation rate.


The bank's mobile app received a 1.9-star rating out of 5 stars after 82 ratings on iTunes by Apple users who observed that the mobile app kept crashing and was not working appropriately. The mobile app for Android users on Google Play received a 3.4-star rating after 96 ratings, with many customers satisfied with the services provided on the app.
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City National Bank Competitors

Some of the top competitors to City National Bank (CNB) in terms of the types of clients they serve and having a similar geographic footprint are First Republic Bank, Preferred Bank, East West Bank, Cathay Bank, and Community Bank. Each of these five banks offers banking services, both personal and commercial, for businesses and individuals in the United States.
In order to identify some of the top competitors to City National Bank (CNB), we began our research by studying the official website of the CNB and press releases for the types of clients CNB serves, product offerings, the range of financial services they provide, and to identify the bank’s geographic footprint. With the information obtained, we then looked into company profiler websites such as Crunchbase, Owler, and ZoomInfo to determine the top competitors of CNB. We also looked into industry-specific websites such as Financial Planning and media websites such as PR Newswire, BusinessWire, and GlobeNewswire. Through these channels, we were able to identify some of CNB’s top competitors serving the same types of clients (individuals and businesses) and have a similar geographic footprint to CNB. All five competitors chosen are based in California, United States.

#1: First Republic Bank (FRB)

Established in the year 1985, First Republic Bank provides private business banking, private banking, and wealth management which includes trust, investment, and brokerage offerings to both, individuals and businesses, in the United States. The bank specializes in providing a wide range of products, including wealth management, deposit services, personal loans, commercial loans, and residential loans. FRB provides services to its clients through its offices located in Jackson, Wyoming; New York, New York; Greenwich, Connecticut; Palm Beach, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Newport Beach, California. FRB is headquartered in California and is led by James H. Herbert as its CEO. According to FRB’s latest SEC filings, the bank has an annual revenue of $2.8 billion.

What they do:

  • In the category of personal banking services, the bank provides online and mobile banking services, checking account services, savings, money market, IRAs, CDs, ATM debit card, foreign exchange, personal and residential lending, eagle community loan, and student loan refinancing services.
  • For businesses, the FRB offers checking account services, money market, treasury services, corporate online banking, foreign exchange, business lines of credit lending, business loans, and commercial real estate loans.

How they compete against CNB:

  • FRB competes against CNB through the range of products they offer to their clients. Both banks have similar services being provided to individual clients such as online and mobile banking services, savings and checking accounts services, and personal loan services.
  • FRB updates its products and solutions at regular intervals to keep pace with the competitive financial industry. The bank strives to continue to provide exceptional services by following their operating philosophy in keeping the “client first”.

#2: Preferred Bank

Preferred Bank was established in the year 1991 with the aim of providing financial help to communities and individuals. The bank is headquartered in Los Angeles and is led by Li Yu as the CEO. Preferred Bank offers a wide range of banking services, both personal and commercial, to businesses and consumers in the United States. The bank has numerous branches located in New York and California. In additional to the usual banking services and products, Preferred Bank offers real estate, commercial, and international lending solutions. The bank is known for its personalized customer service. Preferred Bank has an annual revenue of $43.4 million.

What they do

  • The bank operates in various markets that include manufacturing and distribution companies; international market business; personal service management for professionals such as attorneys, accountants, and physicians; real estate financing; international private banking; business and consumer products; and treasury management services.
  • Their products and services that cater to consumers are checking and savings accounts, electronic banking services, loans and credit services, and foreign currency wires.
  • For businesses, they offer a wider range of loans and credits than those provided for individuals. In addition to these services, Preferred Bank offers treasury management for commercial purposes, including lockbox services, merchant solutions, remote deposit capture, and positive pay services.

How they compete against CNB

  • To be an active competitor in the financial industry, Preferred Bank uses various technology services and products, including Magento, Mailgun, and Google Analytics. The bank is investing in IT solutions to broaden its range of products and is expected to spend over $16.6 million in IT innovations this year.
  • Where financial products and banking services are concerned, both CNB and Preferred Bank provide a similar range of services for consumers and businesses. It has been found that Preferred Bank offers a wider range of treasury management services than CNB, which include cash vault services, CD Rom statements, courier services, electronic file transmission, lockbox services, merchant solutions, positive pay services, remote deposit capture, and zero balance accounting.

#3: East West Bank

East West Bancorp was established in the year 1973 with the aim of helping Chinese-Americans in Los Angeles. Today, East West Bank provides financial assistance to all consumers and businesses in the United States. The company has over 130 branches in some of the major cities in the United States and in China. East West Bancorp’s subsidiary, East West Bank, is considered to be California’s largest independent bank. The bank is led by Dominic Ng as the CEO. The bank generates an annual revenue of $160.2 million.

What they do

  • The bank offers banking products and services to cater to the needs of personal clients, international clients, and business clients. The bank also specializes in offering wealth management solutions to consumers.
  • For consumers, the bank offers savings and checking accounts, digital banking services, personal loans, and FDIC protection services. Business clients are offered insured deposits, information management solutions, collections and deposits services, disbursements and payment solutions, funds management services, and security and fraud prevention services.

How they compete against CNB

  • The bank continues to expand its global reach and broaden its resources to meet the ever-changing financial needs of their clients from two of the world’s largest markets, the United States and China.
  • East West Bank is striving to put into practice the best of both, business and cultural, aspects of the two markets to stay ahead in the financial industry in terms of expanding their target base and improving their investment opportunities.
  • The bank utilizes various technology products such as Google Tag Manager, Bootstrap, and Google Analytics to ensure that their offerings are updated regularly. It has been found that the bank utilizes over 42 different technologies for its website alone. In terms of IT innovation, East West Bank is expected to spend over $160.6 million this year.

#4: Cathay Bank

Cathay Bank was established in the year 1962 with the aim of supporting the dreams, goals, and initiatives of its clients. The bank provides financial assistance primarily to the Chinese American community in the United States. The bank is headquartered in California and is found to be the “oldest operating Chinese American bank in the United States”. The bank is led by Pin Tai as the CEO. This year (2019), Cathay General Bancorp was placed at #10 on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Banks 2019”. The bank generates an annual revenue of $719.7 million.

What they do

  • Cathay Bank offers financial banking services and products for business and individual customers. Clients looking for personal services are offered with account services, personal loans and financing, mobile and online banking, and credit services.
  • For business clients, Cathay Bank provides a wide range of products and services that include business accounts, cash management services, various commercial loans and financing, and foreign exchange services. The bank also provides personalized wealth management solutions in terms of investment IRAs, mutual funds, and annuities.

How they compete against CNB

  • Cathay Bank focuses on providing exceptional service to its community and will continue to do so for decades to come. Cathay Bank is working towards further expanding its network of clients and gaining stronger financial reach.
  • With its vast experience in the field, Cathay Bank works to stay in the competition by catering to the needs of two of the world’s most powerful and fast-growing economies — the United States and China.
  • The bank is expanding its base by building new offices in various locations around the United States. The latest branch was opened in Rancho, Cucamonga, California.
  • While Cathay Bank and CNB offer similar banking products, Cathay Bank provides its clients with a wider range of cash management services and commercial financing services. Cathay Bank is also focusing on regularly updating their products and services while investing in IT innovations.

#5: Community Bank

Established in the year 1945, Community Bank serves numerous industries that include industrial and manufacturing sectors, property management, medical, nonprofit, government, agriculture, and escrow. The bank claims to have a focused approach in providing financial assistance to its customers through personal attention and hands-on touch methods. The bank is led by David R. Misch as the CEO. Community Bank generates an annual revenue of $141.7 million. Headquartered in Pasadena, California, the bank offers financial services and products for business and individuals.

What they do

  • Community Bank provides financial products and offerings to individuals and businesses. In addition to the usual personal financial products, Community Bank also offers lending and investment opportunities for its clients.
  • Individual customers are offered personal banking services such as credit and debit cards, retirement accounts, savings accounts, safe deposit box, and mobile banking services.
  • Business clients are provided with data management services, online banking services, industry expertise, and fraud prevention services. The bank also provides commercial lending services, treasury management, asset management, estate planning, and charitable services.

How they compete against CNB

  • Community Bank is actively competing against some of the top banks in California, United States through their customer service, product solutions, and range of financial services. Community Bank uses numerous technology products such as Vimeo and Google Analytics to ensure their growth in the sector.
  • Both, CNB and Community Bank, offer similar financial products and services for businesses and individuals in the United States that range from mobile banking services to commercial lending services.
  • Community Bank focuses on creating enduring value for its customers through five core values that include cost-effective operation, superior people, financial strength, customer focus, and having fun.

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City National Bank, RBC, and City National Rochdale

City National Rochdale (CNR) operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of City National Bank (CNB) and was created after the acquisition of Rochdale Investment Management by CNB in 2012. City National Bank (CNB), on the other hand, operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of RBC post acquisition of the same by the latter in 2015 and operates as part of the RBC Wealth Management segment.

Relationship Between City National Bank (CNB), the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and City National Rochdale (CNR)

Acquisition of City National Rochdale by City National Bank

The City National Rochdale was created in 2012 when the City National Bank acquired the Rochdale Investment Management. CNR operates as an owned subsidiary of the City National Bank. Moreover, in 2013, the CNB had plans of reinforcing itself in the wealth management sector. To do so, CNB decided to combine the different assets from the “City National Asset Management” and the newly acquired “Rochdale Investment Management” to create a more comprehensive and diversified national health management City National Rochdale. CNR was launched in September 2013 by CNB.

CNR as a company has access to the broad spectrum of asset classes and investment strategies that the CNB has, and this is in order to strengthen the existing wealth management capabilities and to add to different existing services to serve clients better. Furthermore, the successful collaboration of the two banks led to 500 mutual client referrals in six months. There was also the success of the initial wealth management cross-sell pilots which led to further California market roll-outs and over 500 financial adviser and banker meetings to date. In addition to this, a co-branded credit card program was also launched.

Acquisition of City National Bank by the Royal Bank of Canada

RBC acquired the City National Bank in 2015. The acquisition combined the RBC US wealth management unit and the City National bank under the RBC Wealth Management segment. Additionally, CNB operates as an owned subsidiary of RBC. CNB was also able to grow after the acquisition. Its AUM stood at $51.3 billion in March 2019, which was above the AUM of $48.7 billion last March 2018.

In summary, the City National Rochdale is an owned subsidiary of the City National Bank, which in turn operates as an owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada.

The Corporate Umbrella of the Three Companies

CNR positions itself as an “RBC/City National Company”, while CNB positions itself as an “RBC Company”. This means that CNR operates under the corporate umbrella of CNB which in turn operates under the RBC and forms the part of its wealth management segment.

Additionally, there were various reasons behind the various acquisitions made by the banks. Pre-acquisition, the City National Bank had a long list of business clients and was also regarded as the top provider of financial services to Hollywood and the entertainment industry. However, it was too small to offer big-bank services that its clients need, such as investment banking. On the other hand, the Royal Bank of Canada also had some problems, because, in comparison to big players in the industry like Bank of America and JPMorgan and Chase, RBC had no bank to offer clients who need checking accounts, mortgages, or business banking services, so RBC decided to acquire CNB. The acquisition of CNB was the right answer for the company, because now RBC had a bank to provide for their clients who need wealth management services, and in turn, CNB now has the scale and operations to reach more prominent clients within Hollywood and other industries. In addition to this, CNB was able to reinforce its investment and wealth management capabilities through the acquisition of Rochdale Investment Management and the creation of the City National Rochdale (CNR). This acquisition allowed CNB to offer personalized portfolios based on performance benchmarks to its clients. It also helped the company further widen its expertise across asset classes.

In summary, the City National Bank helps the Royal Bank of Canada by extending banking services to its wealth management clients, while the CNB benefits from the RBC by having a larger scale and platform that RBC provides, to reach clients who require specialized services such as investment banking. In addition to this, the City National Rochdale serves as a specialized investment and the wealth national management arm of CNB.

Services Provided and Cross-Selling

The City National Bank offers a broad range of services and products that help complement RBC’s wealth management services in the United States. These services include commercial banking, Private Banking (Savings & Checking Account), Preferred Banking, Small Business Banking, Wealth Management, Services for Professional Firms, International Banking, Treasury Management Services, Entertainment Industry Services, Real Estate Services (Mortgage Loans and Home Equity Line) and Online Services.

It is important to mention that RBC had exited the US retail banking operation in 2012, after selling the same to PNC Financial Services group. The bank veered its cynosure on the private banking and wealth management operations in the US, and it is through leveraging the retail operations of CNB that gives RBC the ability to extend retail bank services/cross-selling to wealth management clients.

It is clear that both RBC and CNB benefit from each other’s various banking services. While the two have different scales in the market, with RBC being the seventh largest full service advisory firm in the US, and CNB operating in a lighter service model (concentrating more in the high growth markets of Los Angeles, the San Francisco, Bay area, Orange County, San Diego and New York), both banks still find a way to compliment one another. An example of this would be CNB’s collaboration of RBC’s US wealth management offices, which help extends its presence nationwide, reaching bigger and attractive markets that are currently not in CNB’s footprint. On the other hand, RBC has been focused more in selling CNB’s services and products to larger clients, and are currently running pilot programs in San Diego and Beverly Hills to see how the company could sell CNB’s products and services to RBC’s bigger clients. Some key areas that RBC is cross-selling CNB products and services include Private Banking, Commercial Banking, Enhanced Core Banking and Custody, Trust & Planning.

In addition to this, as another area of cross-selling and building synergies post-acquisition, RBC plans to extend the reach of City National’s lending capacity with the use of its key corporate clients, and to pursue other ancillary Capital Markets business, while leveraging City National’s deep, long-standing relationships in selected industry verticals. On the other hand, CNB plans to leverage RBCCM advisory services and product platform capabilities which include both IPOs and M&A. This is to give the company access to larger corporate clients (9).

Moreover, with RBC cross-selling CNB products and services to high net worth individuals who are part of the commercial, corporate and institutional clients, the company is planning to enter new markets. The Royal Bank of Canada also has the goal of reaching a revenue of $90 million by 2020 by following this route.

Furthermore, the City National Rochdale has a client advisory program called the “City Rochdale Wrap Program” which recommends the use of various RBC funds (hence, cross-selling them to clients) apart from the investment funds managed by the company itself. This is to capture potential return from various specified asset classes.