TD Bank to Beat Rivals on Service in New York City, Masrani Says

Toronto-Dominion Bank plans to beat competitors on service and extend store hours in its bid to become the third-largest lender by branches in New York City, said U.S. consumer banking chief Bharat Masrani.

“The only sustainable competitive position to be in banking is through service and convenience,” Masrani said in an interview yesterday in New York. “You can’t get there through price or through product, because it will be matched.”

TD Bank, Canada’s second-largest lender, said it will open its 90th New York branch next month in Brooklyn and plans to add about 50 more within four years. The Toronto-based bank said that would make it the third-biggest in New York after Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. TD currently ranks fifth by branches, according to Chief Executive Officer Edmund Clark.

Clark, 64, said last month that New York’s deposit base is about $750 billion, compared with C$1 trillion ($1 trillion) for all of Canada.

Toronto-Dominion, which keeps some of its U.S. “stores” open seven days a week, dubs itself “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” The stores feature coin-counting machines, offer piggy banks for children and provide water bowls and treats for dogs.

“It’s not as easy as saying, ‘Why not open for seven days?’ for your competition,” said Masrani, 55, who became head of U.S. consumer operations in 2007. “It takes a particular business model. It takes flawless execution. It takes people. All those things have to work.”

Toronto-Dominion, with more branches in the U.S. than in Canada, has a training campus in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where employees are taught to “wow” their customers.

Masrani joined Toronto-Dominion in 1987 and held management positions including chief risk officer. He was charged by the bank in 2002 to help exit about C$11 billion in corporate loans, which he reduced ahead of schedule.