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TD Bank Group sees strong wealth and insurance gains, but closing U.S. locations – Yahoo News Canada



TORONTO — TD Bank Group topped expectations as it reported its first-quarter profit rose 10 per cent compared with a year ago.

Yet the bank’s Toronto-listed shares fell nearly 1.7 per cent to close at $78.07 apiece on Thursday, after fellow Canadian banks this week also reported better-than-expected earnings growth.

“TD did not benefit from capital markets, wealth management and cost controls to the same degree as its peers,” wrote Barclays analyst John Aiken in a research note.

“What stood out in the quarter from our perspective was the ongoing struggles in its U.S. retail banking platform.”

Profits fell in TD’s U.S. retail business, after Charles Schwab Corp. finished its acquisition of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in October. TD said Schwab contributed $209 million in earnings, compared with the contribution of $201 million from TD Ameritrade in the first quarter last year.

TD’s U.S. business is closing 82 branches, said Greg Braca, head of TD’s U.S. banking, as it looks to “optimize” redundant locations.

Climbing premiums, insurance sales and uptake in digital term life applications lifted insurance profits by 22 per cent, the bank said.

Teri Currie, the head of TD’s Canadian personal banking, said TD has been investing in its insurance business, focusing on unique aspects like collision centres for auto insurance borrowers.

“As an online insurer we have, I think, the business model, capabilities and customer experience for the future. And in Q1, we had record earnings in that business,” said Currie.

TD said its wealth management business’s profits rose 55 per cent in Canada amid higher transaction and fee-based revenue, while there were also strong mortgage originations and chequing account growth.

“On the wealth side there was strength across the board, and we did have the highest wealth asset levels on record,” said Currie. “We’ve been adding advisors for wealth… to help our customers who are often, right now, sitting on more liquidity than they had planned for.”

Overall, TD earned net income of $3.28 billion or $1.77 per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $2.99 billion or $1.61 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue totalled $10.81 billion, up from $10.61 billion.

On an adjusted basis, TD says it earned $1.83 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.66 per diluted share a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.49 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Provisions for credit losses amounted to $313 million, down from $919 million a year earlier.

“While TD did come in well ahead of expectations, the entire quantum of the beat can essentially be chalked up to lower than expected provisions,” Aiken wrote.

Currie said that customers have been paying down credit cards amid COVID-19 lockdowns, and that January tends to be a slow month for the credit card business.

The bank has a split of customers focused on travel and luxury cards and cash back and everyday spending cards, and Currie said TD is well-positioned for an economic rebound in its partnerships with Amazon and Air Canada, and a presence in the buy-now, pay-later market.

TD chief executive Bharat Masrani in a statement that the bank has been investing in training for thousands of workers during the pandemic.

“(We) also continue to work with governments to facilitate access to relief programs and introduce new initiatives to help those most impacted by the pandemic,” Masrani said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TD)

Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press

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Canada sees good news about COVID-19 inoculations, could relieve pressure on PM Trudeau – Reuters



OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is ramping up after earlier supply disruptions and the number of inoculations last week hit a five-week high, officials said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Travellers arriving from the United States enter a tent erected to perform the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) molecular test at one of five initial entry points, at the Champlain-St. Bernard de Lacolle Border Crossing in St. Bernard de Lacolle, Quebec, Canada February 24, 2021. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Canada has deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, but both companies ran into production problems last month and reduced shipments.

The country trails many other nations in the total number of inoculations and critics accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government of bungling the rollout. Ottawa buys the vaccines, while the 10 provinces and three northern territories administer them.

Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said more than 240,000 doses were injected last week, the most in more than a month.

“We are seeing positive signs that the rollout is ramping up. … This is a reflection of greater supply,” he told a briefing, saying about 2.9% of Canadians had received at least one dose.

“We expect this percentage to significantly increase throughout March,” he added. Canada has so far recorded a total of 21,807 COVID-19 deaths and 855,126 cases.

Major General Dany Fortin, in charge of coordinating the rollout, said a total of 643,000 doses had been distributed this week, the highest amount yet.

Canada says it is still on track to receive a total of 6 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March and that anyone who wants a shot can get one by the end of September.

Ontario, the most-populous province, has started to lift some restrictions imposed to combat a second wave of the virus even as experts say case rates are rising again.

“We need to watch our every step. There is no easy path through a minefield,” Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the province’s science advisory panel, told reporters.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney

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RBC targets net-zero emissions by 2050, commits C$500 billion to sustainable financing



(Reuters) – Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its lending operations by 2050 and has committed C$500 billion ($400.64 billion) toward its sustainable finance target, Canada‘s top lender said on Thursday.

The move comes at a time when investors have stepped up pressure on major banks and insurers to drop financing and insurance for fossil fuel companies.

RBC said last year it would not directly finance exploration or development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move mirrored by rival Toronto-Dominion Bank, which also plans to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some of Canada‘s largest banks and insurers are set to participate in a pilot project to better understand the risks to the financial system from the transition to a low-carbon economy.

RBC on Thursday also committed to measuring and reporting financed emissions for key industry sectors from 2022.

The lender said it met its earlier C$100 billion sustainable finance target last year.

($1 = 1.2480 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting by Sohini Podder and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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