Wednesday, January 11, 2006

TD Bank Sees Strong TDCT Revenues

Toronto, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank should continue to see strong growth in its core domestic branch-banking business, but its smaller U.S.-based retail division could struggle to increase earnings, the bank's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a financial services conference in Toronto, TD CEO Ed Clark said revenues at the bank's Canada Trust division could rise about 8 percent next year despite concerns that rising interest rates could cool the sector by making borrowing more expensive.

Clark has in the past warned that retail revenues were in danger of softening, but acknowledged his bank has beaten his own expectations.

"When we look forward... I would say the fundamentals in 2006 still look extremely positive. And so do I think we could do another 8 percent in that core business next year? Yes, I think that's possible," he said.

However, he said the environment is not so sunny in the United States, where TD's Maine-based Banknorth unit has struggled since TD paid about $4 billion to gain control of it last year.

On Tuesday, TD Banknorth announced balance sheet changes to deal with interest rate risk, for which it will take a charge in the fourth quarter.

"I think it's clear that we've run into an earnings environment with Banknorth that's probably more negative than one would have hoped for," Clark said.

"I don't see them relatively underperforming, but I see the environment as negative."