Class of 1996
Edson Loy Pease, a pioneer banker, was vigorous in modernizing and moving Canadian banking out of its 19th century roots.
Edson Pease was a merchant’s son from Coteau Landing, Quebec. At age 14 he began working as a telegraph operator, where he learned the value of fast and timely information. From this early perspective came his lifelong instinct for seizing national business opportunities.
In the early 1880’s he turned to banking, mastered its pen and ledger rudiments, and then aggressively pursued the possibilities of modern national banking. By age 27, he was working as the accountant at the Merchants’ Bank of Halifax. Four years later, Merchants’ opened its first branch in Montreal with Pease as Manager.
A visionary who guided Merchants’ out if its regional cocoon, Pease oversaw expansion at home and mergers abroad. In 1901 he was instrumental in the move that renamed Merchants’ Bank to The Royal Bank of Canada. By the 1920’s, Royal Bank had become Canada’s largest bank at home and abroad.
Pease rose from bank clerk to Managing Director in a career that paralleled Canada’s emergence as a financial power. While President of the Canadian Bankers Association during WWI, he became the first champion for a central bank for Canada.
His discipline and knowledge of banking set Royal Bank, and all Canadian banking, on the road to exceptional success.