Lending units of Canada’s banks were kept busy in 2012 – so busy that the record amount of debt they arranged for clients took some people aback.
“Frankly, I think we were a bit surprised,” said Burke Smyth, who heads up Canadian loan syndication for TD Securities.
Some context: the banks came off a record year arranging debt in 2011, as mounting concerns over the crisis in Europe and instability in the U.S. prompted many Canadian companies to refinance their debt early. “That’s why when we were trying to forecast going forward, we had serious doubts we would see that kind of activity in 2012,” said Mr. Smyth. But thanks to a surprising amount of mergers and acquisitions funded by bank debt, the lenders managed to break through and set a new record of $181-billion in total volume, according to the 2012 league tables data compiled by Thomson Reuters LPC.