The Year of the Canadian Bank Writedowns

Includes: BMO, BNS, CM, RY, TD
by: FP Trading Desk

Shares in the Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) were down more than 2% Wednesday as investors react poorly to the news that Scotia will take another writedown, this one worth C$595-million after tax. 

The remaining five big banks, including Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY), Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSEARCA:BCM), Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) and National Bank of Canada [NA-PM.TO], were also trading lower, on anticipation that more writedowns are in the cards. The latest rumour forecasts CIBC writing down another C$1-billion or more in the very near future.

For those keeping count, here are the total after tax charges suffered by the banks since the third quarter of 2007:

  • CIBC has written down C$4.969-billion representing 46% of its common equity.
  • Royal Bank has written down C$1.086-billion representing 4% of its common equity.
  • Scotia Bank has written down C$899-million representing 4.8% of its common equity.
  • Bank of Montreal has written down C$638-million representing 4.2% of its common equity.
  • National Bank has written down C$484-million representing 10.3% of its common equity.
  • TD Bank has written down C$65-million representing 0.2% of its common equity.