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Scotiabank eyes North American growth, could exit some foreign markets

Scotiabank chief executive Scott Thomson says the bank is increasing its focus on North America and wealth management as part of its new growth strategy.

Thomson says the bank will be either exiting Central America and Colombia, or turning the businesses around without the use of more capital, while overall it will direct 90 per cent of incremental capital to priority businesses in North America.

The pullback is part of a longer-term trend at the bank, which has already left 25 higher risk regions over the past decade.

Click to play video: 'Money Matters: Canada’s big banks prepping for bad loans'

Money Matters: Canada’s big banks prepping for bad loans

To boost its returns in Canada, he says the bank will work harder to build more “primary relationships” where customers use Scotiabank for day-to-day banking and other products as part of a shift from volume to value.

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He says the bank, which has already confirmed some branch closures, lags its peers on deposits and clients per branch.

The updated plan is the result of a review Thomson launched as part of coming on as CEO of the bank In February.

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