Bank earnings climb with new originations approach

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National Bank's plans to bump up originations through "branch and mobile" forces doesn't appear to have hurt it in the short term, with the lender counting a 14-per cent hike in residential volumes for Q4.

Those "mortgage volumes experienced sustained growth," reports the bank in its latest quarterly report, released early this month.

The announcement follows comments from bank officials this summer, suggesting the lender would make key adjustments to its originations strategy to trim originations costs.

“In Ontario, we’ve seen good volume growth,” President and CEO Louis Vachon told analysts during a conference in June. “A lot of that is coming – 40, 45 per cent – from brokers.

“Clearly, for the next few quarters we are going to look at net margins in that business … and we’re going to look at hopefully increasing the branch and mobile sales force contribution in Ontario and (although) we’re not pulling out of the mortgage brokers market, on a relative basis we’d like to reduce it a little bit.”

The analysis came on the heels of second quarter results pointing to a 13 per cent rise in the funded volume of residential mortgages, compared to the year-ago period.

Brokers, outside of Quebec, contributed a disproportionately large share of that business to the bank, at the same time National has focused on cross-selling to those broker clients, according to bank officials.

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