Toronto-Dominion Bank reported a 14-per-cent increase in third-quarter profit, driven by record earnings from its network of branches in Canada, and higher revenue from wholesale banking.
In a quarter when all of Canada's Big Five banks boosted their dividends, TD also announced it was increasing its quarterly payout to investors by 5 cents, to 77 cents, an increase of 7 per cent. It is the second time this year TD has increased its payout to shareholders.
Canada's second-largest bank made $1.7-billion, or $1.78 a share, compared to earnings of $1.49-billion, or $1.58 a share during the same quarter last year.
Revenue rose 8 per cent to $5.84-billion.
Adjusted to exclude unusual items, TD's earnings were equal to $1.91 a share in the quarter, which beat analysts' expectations of about $1.85 a share.
Provisions for credit losses, or the amount of funds banks set aside to cover bad loans, rose to $438-million, compared to $380-million a year ago.
"This was a great quarter for TD," the bank's chief executive officer Ed Clark said in a statement. The banks ability to boost its dividend points to the "stability" of its earnings, he said, along with "the board's confidence in our continuing ability to deliver long-term growth even in a tough operating environment."
TD's third-quarter numbers were indicative of the landscape across the banking sector this quarter. Even as analysts and bank executives talk of moderating consumer loan growth and slimmer margins due to tepid interest rates, the country's lenders continue to watch their profits climb.
In part, banks are slashing costs to keep their margins from shrinking too much, and to boost profits. However earnings continue to be driven by strong demand for consumer loans, even as the Bank of Canada and federal government fret over rising levels of household debt.
TD's Canadian personal and commercial banking division made $864-million in the quarter, up 9 per cent from the previous year as the bank reported growth in its loan portfolio and increased deposits. In particular, TD operates a large auto lending business, which has been an area of strong growth in Canada in recent months as more Canadians borrow to buy a new vehicle, looking to take advantage of low interest rates.
Earnings fell south of the border, where TD operates a large network of branches on the east coast of the United States. The U.S. personal and commercial banking division made $284-million, down 4 per cent from last year TD's wealth and insurance business made $304-million in the quarter, up 1 per cent, while its wholesale banking business made $180-million, up 60 per cent compared to last year due to significantly higher trading revenue, the bank said.