Shawnna Campbell appreciated a call from her supervisor at City National Bank to check up on her after her newborn daughter arrived five weeks early. She was overwhelmed when that supervisor told her the bank was sending her $1,800.

"I was shocked," said Campbell, who works as a Bank Secrecy Act analyst. "City National is a very family-oriented bank. I've worked for other banks in the past, but I've never worked for a bank like this."

The cash is part of a new “life moments” benefit the $8.5 billion-asset Miami bank rolled out earlier this year. Other life moments where City National is extending financial assistance to its employees include the purchase of a new home, the adoption of a child or the death of a family member.

Chain reaction
"Our parent company's motto is that happy employees lead to happy clients, which leads to happy shareholders,” says Jorge Gonzalez, the president and CEO at City National, which ranks as one of the Best Banks to Work For.

For Campbell, the cash eased the financial burden as co-pays and other expenses piled up. She was also able to open a savings account for her baby daughter.

The benefit is one of several changes at City National in the two years since it was acquired by Banco de Credito e Inversiones of Chile for $882 million.

President and Chief Executive Jorge Gonzalez said City National — which earned a spot in our ranking of the Best Banks to Work For this year — tried to have a best-in-market benefit package before the deal, and its new owners have supported making the benefits even better.

"Our parent company's motto is that happy employees lead to happy clients, which leads to happy shareholders," Gonzalez said. "We knew early on this was the right buyer. We had similar cultures, similar philosophies, going in, so we had a strong foundation to build from."

Since its acquisition, City National has borrowed from its parent company in starting a leadership academy that eventually every manager will go through. It also is in the process of building a more structured recognition program.

BCI is about four times the size of City National, and Gonzalez said the management team in Chile has been helping its Miami unit cope with growing pains. City National's assets have increased by nearly a third since the BCI deal closed in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"A lot of things we are now going through in terms of leadership development and in other areas, they have already gone through," Gonzalez said. "We have the benefit of not making the same mistakes that a lot of organizations make as they grow."

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While a lot of advice is coming from Chile, City National still has the freedom to pursue its own initiatives.

Gonzalez was inspired by a local law firm to start a "mindfulness" program, in which outside consultants are brought in to train employees in meditation and yoga to better deal with stress and foster improved communication.

"Mindfulness is not something they had ever seen or done," Gonzalez said of the parent company, "but it is certainly something that they supported us doing."

He described the new owners as being "very astute" about maintaining momentum at City National. "They have been very careful not to disrupt all of the good things we had going on prior to the deal."