Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third- largest lender, will emphasize internal growth and managing expenses over pursuing acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said.
“We’re focusing right now on organic growth opportunities,” Porter, 55, said today in an interview at the bank’s Toronto headquarters. “That’s not to say we’re not going to do acquisitions. We’ll look selectively at acquisitions that are on strategy.”
Scotiabank made about C$13 billion ($12.2 billion) of acquisitions in Canada and globally since the financial crisis. They include last year’s $1 billion purchase of a 51 percent stake in Colombia’s Banco Colpatria Red Multibanca Colpatria SA, its largest foreign acquisition, and the C$3.1 billion takeover of ING Groep NV’s Canadian operations in November 2012.
“The bank has a history of being opportunistic,” said Porter, who took over as CEO on Nov. 1. “Buying is the easy part. Getting it up and running properly and at the Scotiabank standard is what we strive to do.”
Scotiabank is also focusing on expenses, including reviewing back-office operations such as mortgage processing in Canada and merging some call centers in its international banking business, Porter said.
“We’re looking at structural costs within our business,” Porter said. “We’re just looking at ways to run the business better, more efficiently, faster, cheaper.”
Porter succeeded Richard Waugh, 65, who retired after almost 10 years as CEO. Before taking the top job, Porter oversaw Scotiabank’s international banking business from 2010 to 2012, and previously was group head of risk and treasury, as well as chief risk officer.
Scotiabank’s profit for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31 rose 3.6 percent to a record C$6.7 billion from the previous year, according to Dec. 6 financial statements. A 19 percent jump in earnings from Canadian banking, aided by contributions from the ING Direct takeover, helped lift results.
Scotiabank, with operations in more than 55 countries, earned 29 percent of its profit from international banking in the fiscal year.
--Editors: Steven Crabill, Dan Reichl