TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank <TD.TO> wants to increase its corporate lending in the United States by acquiring loans from other foreign banks retreating from the country, one of its top executives said on Thursday.
TD has been beefing up its U.S. investment banking operations at a time when European lenders have been pulling back in the wake of tougher regulations and the need to bolster their balance sheets.
In contrast, TD, which has already grown to be one of the 10 biggest banks in the United States and has a major retail presence with 1,300 branches, has the financial strength to accelerate the expansion of its U.S. capital markets business.
"Ultimately we're looking to buy assets," Glenn Gibson, the U.S. head of TD Securities, said in an interview. "What we're looking for in the corporate space is if there are opportunities as foreign banks continue to rejig their strategy."
Canada's biggest banks are expanding in the United States to help counter sluggish growth in their domestic markets where the outlook is clouded by concerns over possible housing bubbles in Vancouver and Toronto.
TD said in September it planned to acquire Albert Fried & Co, a New York-based broker-dealer, as it looks to expand its presence in the U.S. prime brokerage sector.
TD Securities, whose existing investment banking clients include AT&T <T.N>, beer maker Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA <ABI.BR>, and private equity firm KKR & Co <KKR.N>, has been increasing commercial lending in the U.S. in recent years.
As well as attracting new multi-national clients, it wants to enhance its existing relationships and hopes global companies that are already clients in Canada will borrow from them more in the United States.
"We're trying to build out the depth of the relationships we have with some of the multi-nationals that we deal with that have business in Canada and we're also trying to expand the number of relationships," Gibson said.
TD said last year it could double the size of its capital markets business over the next three to four years.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by David Gregorio)