CWB Acquisition: National Bank of Canada Commits to Growth

The deal is the latest in Canada’s highly regulated banking market
In a billion-dollar deal, National Bank of Canada will acquire Canadian Western Bank, expanding the national bank’s commercial banking portfolio by 52%

National Bank of Canada announces it will be buying Canadian Western Bank, one of its competitors, in a C$5bn (US$3.63bn) deal.

The deal is the latest in Canada’s highly regulated banking market which is predominantly overseen by the big six lenders, including the National Bank, the TD, Royal Bank, the Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank and CIBC. Earlier in 2024, Royal Bank of Canada - the country’s largest lender - acquired HSBC Canada.

The acquisition of Canadian Western Bank is expected to close in 2025 and combines two of the country’s largest lenders, therefore giving National Bank of Canada greater exposure throughout Canada.

Establishing a greater presence across Canada

Canadian Western Bank was first founded in 1984 and focuses on commercial banking. With 39 branches and more than 65,000 clients in Canada, its specialisms lie in equipment financing, trust services and wealth management.

Its operations are predominantly concentrated in Alberta and British Columbia, but its acquisition will help the bank expand into other areas. Likewise, its C$37bn (US$26.9bn) loan book increases National Bank of Canada’s lending portfolio outside of Quebec by 37%, as National Bank CEO Laurent Ferreira explains.

“This transaction is about growth and supports our objectives in Western Canada and across the country,” he says.

Pending regulatory approval, this acquisition will offer National Bank, which is based in Montreal, greater presence across Western Canada. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, one of Canada’s and North America’s biggest pension funds, is backing the deal via a C$500m (US$364.36m) investment into National Bank.

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Caisse said it would become National Bank’s second-largest shareholder once the transaction is complete. The pension fund manages the contributions of Quebec residents, with a mandate to earn returns while contributing to economic development throughout the province.

Both banks have highlighted that this acquisition deal will enable them to both grow and develop business across Canada, offering better products and services at a national scale.

National Bank of Canada continues to achieve growth

In recent years, many banks across Canada have started to achieve growth outside of the country. However, National Bank of Canada has instead concentrated its efforts on national acquisitions, which has definitely paid off.

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Expanding its growth efforts towards the west of the country, via the Canadian Western Bank acquisition, opens it up to a huge growth opportunity. The bank’s stock has also gained 16% so far in 2024. As reported by Reuters, this makes it among the top-growing banking stocks in Canada. 

With this in mind, its acquisition will enable it to access Canadian Western Bank’s billion-dollar loan book, which includes equipment financing, commercial loans, mortgages, real estate and oil and gas loans.

National Bank has also focused on its capital markets business, which accounts for one-third of its income, in addition to growing its wealth management business.

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