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TD not looking for another major U.S. acquisition

‘We don’t have to go out there and do transformative deals’ in order to compete, TD CEO Bharat Masrani says.

RICH SCHULTZ

Despite the constant rumours, Toronto-Dominion Bank doesn't feel the need to go buying in the United States again.

Whenever there is speculation that an eastern U.S. retail bank is up for sale, TD is often expected to be one of the bidders – much to the consternation of TD's management team, which is sick of deflecting questions about the rumours.

Lately, though, TD's been much more vocal about their U.S. ambitions. Retiring chief executive officer Ed Clark recently went into detail as to why TD isn't all that interested in Citizens Bank, the U.S. retail banking arm of Royal Bank of Scotland. And on Wednesday incoming CEO Bharat Masrani took it a step further.

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Asked about his plans for growth in the U.S., Mr. Masrani, who used to the run TD's operations in the country, said he doesn't find it necessary to buy a retail bank south of the border again. Because TD already has a large footprint, "we do have the size and scale to compete very effectively," he said at a conference hosted by National Bank Financial.

Not only does TD already have a large base, it is also growing all on its own. Each year the bank opens 30 to 35 new branches, and it's doubling down in areas such as New York, where it sees a lot of potential. The bank is planning to add about 15 branches there in 2014, nearly half of its total additions for the year.

"We don't have to go out there and do transformative deals" in order to compete, Mr. Masrani said.

This doesn't rule out all deals, as TD has a smaller presence in some other regions. "There are pockets in our market, like the southeastern United States, where we need to build for scale," Mr. Masrani said.

But for the most part, TD seems pretty content with what it's already got.

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