Knowledge Centre

After years of intense study, internships, mentoring and practising together, it’s not surprising that healthcare professionals form strong bonds among their peers as they deliver medical care, tend teeth or treat pets.  With more than 30 years of experience, Scotiabank’s Healthcare Specialists have earned their place in this tight-knit community, by accompanying them on their career and life journeys and dispensing trusted advice when stress levels are ‘off the charts’. 

These deep bonds between the banker and healthcare professional were evident during COVID-19, when healthcare providers – who normally relieve the anxiety of their worried patients – received constant reassurance from their Scotiabank Healthcare Specialists, who helped them navigate their next steps.

While COVID-19 shone the spotlight on the critical role healthcare professionals play – and the immense pressures upon them – Canadian doctors, dentists and veterinarians have long faced major work and life stresses, notes Frank Passaro, Director, Healthcare & Professional Banking in the Greater Toronto Area.  Passaro understands the daily realities of healthcare professionals since he’s part of the Scotiabank team that has delivered tailored financial services to healthcare professionals for more than 30 years.

“These individuals need and deserve specialized attention. They have dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and energy, from 4 to 20 years, studying and building their technical skills, often accumulating sizable student debt,” says Passaro. “Then, they must start their career, with no employment certainty, assume incredible responsibility for the wellbeing of their patients and clients, while handling many business and personal financial issues. It can take years before they feel they have reached a solid vocational and financial footing.”

With such pressures, it’s no wonder that healthcare professionals form strong bonds with their peers, with whom they train, mentor and collaborate to care for our health, teeth and pets. “They go through immense challenges together, so they create a tight-knit community, developing deep friendships and helping each other professionally,” explains Passaro. “They also face common financial issues, so they surround themselves with other professionals who can help them sort out complex and stressful matters.”

Scotiabank’s Healthcare Specialists are proud to have earned their place among this community of more than 125,000 physicians, dentists and veterinarians across Canada.1 “We work hard to establish genuine bonds with them, as they consider how to pay for school and later, start, buy-into or grow a practice or clinic,” says Passaro. “The conversation might start with ‘I need a car to commute to a distant clinic’, but it quickly becomes a bigger discussion about their goals. They appreciate that we are laser-focused on serving healthcare professionals, and we share our experience to help them do ‘the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons’.”

An important element of this value-added service is the way Scotiabank’s Healthcare Specialists work closely with other experts who deeply understand the healthcare sector, including Scotiabank’s own Scotia Wealth Management, Retail Branch network and Commercial Banking teams, or a trusted network of external professional partners, including accountants, lawyers and tax specialists who cater exclusively to healthcare professionals.


“Our clients know that we can connect them with a full range of specialized services, whether they need to incorporate their business, finance a commercial property, or find student loans for their kids to attend college or university. And, these time-starved professionals know that we will serve as their dedicated Specialist and come to them, their home, office or wherever, around their work hours, lives and needs.”

Frank Passaro, Director, Healthcare & Professional Banking, Greater Toronto Area

Leaning on Scotiabank during COVID-19

If healthcare professionals ever depended upon their network for strength, it was during COVID-19. “For many of them, their world changed in March 2020, when their professional colleges or public health authorities guided some to close, creating unimaginable uncertainty for both health professionals and their patients or clients,” recalls Passaro. “Many had to cease operations for months, creating worry about their incomes, staff and families. And, when they did re-open, they faced many unknowns about new health and safety protocols.”

These were moments when healthcare professionals – who normally reassure others about serious medical conditions, painful root canals and emotionally-charged pet illness – leaned upon Scotiabank’s Healthcare Specialists. “Our team helped manage the high level of anxiety among our clients, calling each of them, listening and assuring them that we are here to help,” notes Passaro.

The team patiently helped healthcare professionals access various government and bank relief programs. Passaro adds that they also moved quickly to deliver financial solutions in response to ever-shifting conditions: “We turned around financing so clients could acquire essential ‘PPE,’ including costly air purification systems or retrofitting their operatory suites to meet public health standards to serve patients safely.”

Admitting that no one knew exactly what the future held, Passaro emphasizes that his team helped clients answer the pressing question: ‘So what do I do now?’ In some cases, this meant in-depth discussions with long-tenured professionals for whom the pandemic accelerated their transition or retirement plans.

“For others, the pandemic created new opportunities to propel and excel in their profession,” points out Passaro. “Clients discovered ways to better manage their practice, deliver a strong experience for their customers and patients, and even expand, and we were there to help them do so.”

Reflecting on the ability of healthcare professionals, and his team, to navigate recent difficult times, Passaro concludes that,


“We earn the trust of these healthcare professionals by being uniquely focused on their needs at each life and career stage. In turn, they invite us to be part of their community and often they refer their colleagues, spouses, children and friends. It’s a privilege to add value on their journey, so they can do something magical, which is perform their craft and provide the best possible care.”

Frank Passaro, Director, Healthcare & Professional Banking, Greater Toronto Area