George W. Arnold
Year of birth: 1935
Inducted in 2014
Nominated by: Royal Bank of Canada
Specialty: Agri-business, Organizations
George Arnold was often referred to as the “Dean of Agricultural Banking” as his banking career led to his playing a pivotal role in developing and implementing several new innovations in farm lending and financial management. He was also innovative in his approach to advising farm owners on improved business practices to facilitate business planning.
In 1967, the new Canada Bank Act changed the regulations to move away from short term promissory notes to the development of programs that offered terms and payment frequencies which better met the biological nature of agriculture. Consequently, the Royal Bank of Canada assembled a team of Farm Management specialists to guide its new internal Farm Plan, with George Arnold being the Ontario Pioneer on the Team. As Head of the Royal Bank Agriculture Department in Ontario, George promoted the need for professional financial information and advice from product and service providers across the entire agricultural industry. Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s, he built a team of 12 professional agrologists mandated to assist Branch managers across Ontario in providing financial services to farm clients. Later, these account managers were consolidated at Agricultural Banking Centers in key locations to better deliver specialized products and services to the farm and agribusiness sectors.
Some of the products and services delivered by George and his team were:
• Term loans with repayment schedules to match the life expectancy of livestock breeding herds, farm machinery and farm buildings.
• Twenty-five year amortized mortgages for farmland purchases with repayment options determined by cash flows on a farm-by-farm basis.
• A comprehensive extension program to assist the industry to “raise the bar” in terms of upgraded record keeping, accounting and business risk management.
• The establishment of review engagement accrual financial statements by a Chartered Accountant as a requirement for large loan portfolios.
Between 1984-86, George was a key player on a committee convened by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and its resulting report became the foundation for farm record keeping and accounting which persists in the farm and agribusiness sectors today.
George Arnold believed in a high professional standard and lifelong learning when identifying people who were capable of delivering financial products and services to the agricultural community. As part of this drive for professionalism, he was a long-time volunteer for 4-H and in 2000 he was named an Honourary Lifetime Member of the Canadian 4-H Council in recognition of his 50 year commitment to the 4-H program. George also contributed to the Ontario Institute of Agrologists at all levels, and in 2003 he was named as a Distinguished Agrologist.
Now, in recognition of his contributions to agriculture and agribusiness in the areas of financial management and business risk management, George Arnold becomes a 2014 inductee.