CIBC to focus on winning more market share after reporting $1.02B profit in Q4

·2 min read

TORONTO — The chief executive of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says he's determined to protect and win more market share in areas like personal and small business banking as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage.

"We've made good progress … but there's more upside to capture in the year and years ahead," said Victor Dodig on a Thursday call to discuss the bank's fourth-quarter financial results.

Dodig said the move is one of his top priorities as the bank and country head into another year of uncertainty caused by the virus.

The bulk of 2020 has been challenging for banks like CIBC, which were forced to help customers navigate an unexpected pandemic replete with temporary lockdowns, soaring unemployment levels and consumer demand for loan deferrals and other abatements.

CIBC, however, is already seeing some of the strains caused by COVID-19 ease up.

Client applications, Dodig said, have recovered from earlier lows and are even generating positive year-over-year growth.

Traction from digital offerings like the bank's GoalPlanner personal finance app, are also proving to be asset.

"Our investments in technology over the past several years to digitize and simplify our bank are allowing us to provide real-time remote support to our clients at a time when physical distancing has become the norm," Dodig said.

His remarks came as CIBC beat expectations even as its fourth-quarter profit edged down compared with a year ago.

The bank earned nearly $1.02 billion or $2.20 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 21, down from $1.19 billion or $2.58 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, CIBC earned $2.79 per diluted share for the quarter, down from $2.84 per diluted share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $2.52 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

CIBC's revenue totalled $4.6 billion, down from $4.77 billion a year earlier.

Like most of the big Canadian banks, which reported fourth-quarter earnings this week, CIBC took a step back from pouring record-breaking amounts of cash into reserves to protect themselves from bad loans.

Provisions for credit losses amounted to $291 million, down from $402 million a year ago and $525 million in the bank's third quarter.

CIBC also announced Thursday that Katharine Stevenson, who has been an independent director since 2011, will become chair of the board at the company's annual meeting set for April 8, 2021.

Stevenson will succeed John Manley, who will retire from the board at the meeting after serving six years as chair and 16 years as a CIBC director.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.

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Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press