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Top Trio of Canadian Banks

Canada's second-quarter GDP posted a blowout number of 4.5% annualized growth.

Canada’s second-quarter
GDP posted a blowout number of 4.5% annualized growth with the economy
displaying strength on virtually all fronts, says
Gavin Graham, contributing
editor to
Internet Wealth Builder.

Against that backdrop, it was not surprising to see the
Bank of Canada raise its key rate by another quarter-point, to 1%. Another rise
in interest rates this fall seems certain.

One group of companies that stands to benefit from a rise
in short-term rates is the chartered
banks. As investors and savers are well aware, the interest rate charged on
borrowings always seems to go up faster than that paid on savings. That has the
effect of widening the banks’ net interest margins, the major source of the
banks’ profits.

The three-generation
lows in short-term interest rates over
the last few years have been a major handicap to the banks, although given
their comfortable oligopoly compared to the much more competitive U.S. market,
Canadian banks are still making lots of money.

RBC (RY) is Canada’s largest bank and continues to benefit
from its market-leading positions in
mortgage and commercial
. It also has a strong investment banking performance as well as a
rapidly growing asset management business.

The dividend was raised by $0.04 per quarter (5%) to
$0.91, the second increase in this range this year.

That gives RBC a yield of just over 4%. Whenever RBC has
seen its yield top 4%, apart from the financial crisis of 2008-09, it has
proven worth buying.

It seems anomalous that the largest and most profitable
bank in the country sells at a notably higher yield than its smaller
competitors. RBC remains a Buy for its strong capital, market-leading position, and increasing presence in wealth

TD Bank (TD) is Canada’s second-largest bank, with a large U.S. retail
presence, as well as owning 82% of discount broker TD Ameritrade. It has particular
in retail banking although it also has a strong presence in
wholesale banking.

The dividend payment remains at $0.60 a quarter, after the
9% increase in March, giving TD a yield of 3.6%. TD remains a Buy for its
growing U.S. presence, strength in Canadian retail, and professional

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) is the most
international of Canada’s Big Six chartered banks, with over 40% of its
earnings derived from its extensive Latin American and Asian operations. It is
the sixth largest bank in Mexico and the third largest in Peru. It has a
reputation for having the lowest expense ratio of any of the banks.

Scotia remains a buy for its extensive international exposure to the less banked and faster growing Latin American and Asian economies, its strict cost controls, and its growing wealth management division.

Gavin Graham is contributing editor of Internet Wealth Builder.

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