Early expertise in commodity trade financing opened the way to participation in the lucrative trade in sugar, cocoa, tobacco and other staples of Caribbean production. The establishment of a branch in Havana in 1899 set the pattern for the steady expansion of Royal Bank throughout the Caribbean and Latin America over the next twenty-five years. By 1925, the bank boasted 121 international branches, stretching from Rio de Janeiro in the south to Honduras in Central America.
As an adjunct to this array of southern branches, Royal Bank branches and agencies were established in key centres of North American and European finance. Branches in London, Paris, Barcelona and New York all served to secure the other end of trade financing and foreign exchange with the Caribbean and South America. In 1919, an attempt was made to sustain a branch in Vladivostok in revolutionary Russia.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Canadian novelist Sinclair Ross juggled his writing career with a full time banker's job at Royal Bank? At age 16 Ross joined the Union Bank of Canada in 1924, a year before it was purchased by Royal Bank, and worked at Royal Bank until his retirement in 1968.