Thank you, Phil, and good morning, everyone. I would like to begin my remarks today by reviewing the Bank’s progress over the course of fiscal 2020. I will then turn the call over to Raj to review our financial performance, and to Daniel to discuss risk. I will then return after Daniel’s remarks to conclude our presentation by discussing our outlook for the year ahead. I would first like to acknowledge our customers for their tremendous loyalty and support over the past nine months during COVID. I would also like to recognize our employees for their incredible professionalism and dedication during a stressful and difficult period. 2020 was an unusual and challenging year, which tested the global economy and the Bank in many respects, but it also represented an important year for strategic progress and accomplishments to position the Bank very well for the future. Many of these appear on slide four. When I reflect on this year, three words come to mind: The first is resilience; the second is strength; and the third is opportunity. Beginning with resilience. When the year began, our repositioning efforts were substantially complete and we were poised to demonstrate our full earnings power as a leading bank in the Americas. We had completed four divestitures in the first quarter and had fully integrated BVA, Chile, and our wealth acquisitions. We hosted a very successful Investor Day in Santiago, Chile, which showcased our strategic progress, highlighted our competitive strengths, and outlined the many opportunities for expansion and growth.
Our first quarter results gave a clear indication of our progress and our growth path ahead. The rapid global spread of COVID-19 changed the outlook for 2020. It was not a scenario that anyone could have foreseen, but it was one which highlighted the resilience of the Bank in many important areas.
Our business operations performed extremely well. We transitioned smoothly to remote work environments.
Our technology was robust and highly reliable.
Our branch networks remained open for our customers throughout.
Our resilience was also demonstrated by the strength of our customer support networks, including our branches, digital banking channels and call centers, which handled record volumes during the year.
Our capital was also highly resilient.
Our common equity Tier 1 ratio rebounded strongly in Q3 and Q4 to settle at 11.8% today. The ability of the Bank to generate capital even during times of extreme uncertainty and market volatility is undeniable. Furthermore, this quarter has provided clear evidence of the resilience of earnings.
We are well on our way to returning to full profitability, and our performance this quarter represents positive earnings momentum that we expect to continue in 2021 and beyond.
Lastly, our diversified business model played an important role in our resilience as a bank. When one of our business lines encountered difficult business conditions, another was there to offset that weakness. Due to the investments we have made in recent years, we now have four large scale business lines that provide important diversification by business activity and by country, during times of uncertainty.
Moving now to strength.
Our resilience is testimony to the underlying strength of the Bank.
Our asset quality is one of our key strengths.
We are primarily a secured and investment grade lender. And throughout the pandemic, we have seen the benefits of our risk appetite with few sources of weakness in our lending portfolios.
While some of that can be attributed to the scale of government assistance and government support and customer support programs, I believe our asset quality stands out.
For example, our risk-weighted assets are lower today than when the pandemic began and below the levels of a year ago.
In addition, our gross impaired loan ratio has declined year-over-year.
Our strength is also reflected in our ability to provide extensive customer assistance during a period of stress. At its peak, we provided over $120 billion of direct financial support to our customers, including approximately $90 billion of payment deferrals to our retail customers and approximately $30 billion of additional facilities to support our business customers. This support achieved its objective of providing important relief and promoting financial stability. I believe these actions will serve to further deepen our customer relationships for years to come.
In fact, we were ranked as number one in customer satisfaction for our response to COVID-19 among Canadian business owners.
Finally, our strength in digital banking was evident this year as lockdowns and a focus on safety prompted more customers to rely on digital channels. This resulted in a strong increase in digital adoption to almost 50% of all customers in 2020, while digital sales accelerated to 36% for the year. These digital trends will continue to play an important role in the future of banking. We look forward to providing additional insights on our digital progress next quarter as we refine our digital metrics for 2021.
Finally, I would like to discuss the opportunities we have before us as we embark on a new fiscal year. With any crisis comes opportunity.
First, we have multiple opportunities to either reduce or moderate expenses through efficiency and prioritization initiatives in order to improve our operating leverage.
Our industry-leading productivity ratio and the benign rate of expense growth in 2020 reflects the priority we give to expense management. This will be a key area of focus for us in 2021.
Secondly, 2020 introduced many customers to digital banking for the first time. This has provided an acceleration in digital adoption, which will provide material benefits to both, customers and the Bank going forward.
Finally, with the expected introduction of a vaccine and the economic recovery more fully underway, the focus in banking will shift from capital adequacy to capital deployment. The Bank has multiple avenues for capital deployment as a leading bank in the Americas. These include organic growth in our existing businesses; share buybacks, when they are permitted; and acquisitions. I am confident we will take advantage of all opportunities that are in line with our strategy and enhance shareholder value. With that, I will turn the call over to Raj to discuss our financial performance.