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Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank. (Ian Jackson/Ian Jackson/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank. (Ian Jackson/Ian Jackson/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Scotiabank profit almost triples Add to ...

Bank of Nova Scotia , the last major Canadian bank to report its profit for fiscal 2009, said Tuesday it earned $902-million in the final quarter of the year, up from $315-million a year ago.

The bank's profit for the full year ended Oct. 31 was $3.55-billion, up 13 per cent from a year ago, and it met all of the financial targets it set for itself at the end of the prior year.

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But Scotiabank's earnings for the latest quarter amount to 83 cents per share, roughly inline with what analysts were expecting after adjusting the results for unusual and one-time items. The majority of Canadian banks easily topped the street's estimates by significant margins.

Each of Scotiabank's main divisions posted profits that were higher than a year ago.

Scotiabank chief executive officer Rick Waugh noted in a press release that the Canadian lending business had a record quarter, with 8-per-cent profit growth, thanks to increases in residential mortgages and credit lines.

Scotia Capital, the investment banking division, had its second strongest quarter ever, with profit of $353-million, up from $44-million a year ago, he said.

"Gains were made in credit fees, investment banking revenues and strong trading activities, but offset by lower loan volumes and foreign exchange revenues."

Scotiabank's international banking division, the most far-flung of the Canadian banks, had profits of $283-million, up from $227-million a year ago.

But the main reason that Scotiabank's fourth-quarter earnings were nearly triple those of a year ago was that the bank took $642-million in after-tax charges the prior year as a result of the market turmoil. In addition, businesses that it recently bought are now contributing more to its bottom line.

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