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TD, CIBC and Aimia still aiming for Aeroplan card deal

Cards from CIBC, TD Bank and Aeroplan as shown Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The saga for the rights to offer Aeroplan-branded credit cards drags on after the loyalty rewards program extended its deadline to reach an agreement with two potential partner banks.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has offered Aeroplan cards for over 20 years, but this summer Toronto-Dominion Bank signed a new deal with Aimia Inc., Aeroplan's parent company, to become the rewards program's card provider.

A few weeks later CIBC countered, announcing that the bank was in talks with TD to split the Aeroplan program, allowing CIBC to keep Aeroplan accounts that were tied to CIBC banking relationships. The remainder would be sold to TD.

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At the time the two banks set an August 26 deadline to come to a three-way agreement with Aimia. But on Monday they extended their negotiations and did not set a new deadline.

"The parties will make an announcement when an agreement has been reached or when the discussions have concluded without an agreement," CIBC said in a statement.

CIBC's existing contract with Aimia ends on Dec. 31, and the two parties have held heated discussions for the past few months. In May, the bank took the fight public during its quarterly earnings conference call, threatening to abandon the relationship and to launch a brand new loyalty credit card. CIBC went so far as to say it had $50-million lined up to market the new card.

Aimia raised the stakes in June when it signed a 10-year deal with TD to make Canada's second-largest bank its primary card issuer. Because of the way its current contract is structured, CIBC had until early August to either match or beat TD's offer; if it did, the bank would automatically keep the Aeroplan account.

But rather than match, CIBC ultimately announced the potential for a three-way partnership. This possibility is still up in the air, and talks are ongoing.

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About the Author
Reporter and Streetwise columnist

Tim Kiladze is a business reporter with The Globe and Mail. Before crossing over to journalism, he worked in equity capital markets at National Bank Financial and in fixed-income sales and trading at RBC Dominion Securities. Tim graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and also earned a Bachelor in Commerce in finance from McGill University. More

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