Bank of Nova Scotia Earnings Call Insights: Security Gains and Loan Losses

Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Security Gains

Steve Theriault – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: I wanted to ask a question on capital for Rick or Brian, but Sean just quickly could you — you mentioned during your remarks that the security gains in international can be viewed as essentially loan loss reversals, can you just clarify that? And was that C$25 million to C$30 million after tax?

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Sean McGuckin – EVP and CFO: So this relates to a loan we had on the books many years ago. It came in the form a security, the security was eventually sold this quarter, but it relates more to an original loan many years and the amount was close to C$30 million after tax.

Steve Theriault – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: There is some sort of an exchange for security at some point.

Sean McGuckin – EVP and CFO: Many years ago when it got converted into a restructured loan and we’ve got it in the forms of security. So when we sell it, it comes to (indiscernible) as a loan loss book.

Steve Theriault – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: So just on capital. Your Basel III tier 1 commons coming well nicely over 8.5% at quarter-end, you’re tracking to 9%, pretty short order it looks like. Is there any thought to eliminating the drift discount or buyback stock at some point in the next few quarters or are still on the mode where you want to keep your powder dry, you want to hold back a little and I guess you have the potential completion of the China acquisition at some point.

Sean McGuckin – EVP and CFO: Yeah, as you know, we’ve got a really dynamic couple of management plan process. In the past, we’ve used share buyback primarily to offset option dilution. We’ve been very successful over the years deploying our capital on to our four business lines, so we would see that as a continued key strategy going forward. That being said, sometime in the future we may share buybacks as a tool to add to our household management toolkit but again it would not be a significant part of our capital deployment strategy. In terms of the DRIP, yeah, we look at that every year to determine whether to keep the discount on that and if we do decided to assure buyback program in the future we would obviously turn off the DRIP…

Dieter W. Jentsch – Group Head, International Banking: I will just add to Sean’s remarks. We are going to be consistent with our capital management and as you can see by our results, especially on the revenue and the asset growth our first priority is always to grow our business and that’s what we’ve done in the past and I see we do have the advantage. Of these opportunities that you can see how throughout the business lines we are already growing our business priority, number one. Second priority, obviously in capital management, as we do believe in rewarding our shareholders with dividend; we have been consistent in regularly increasing our dividend and again in these results we see that’s consistent. Share buyback, we have in the past to offset dilution for any stock issued and lower towards doing that. So, again I think we are going to be very consistent. We are very comfortable with our capital ratios and again we are just seeing (indiscernible) see again.

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Loan Losses

Gabriel Dechaine – Credit-Suisse Securities: Just another clarification. So, the securities gains in international is 30 million, but you also had positive credit mark amortization of 18 million, correct?

Sean McGuckin – EVP and CFO: That credit market you’re referring to the Bank of Colpatria, but our increase in loan losses, we still got an increase in loan losses quarter-over-quarter because of Colpatria that just reduced the increase in provision.

Gabriel Dechaine – Credit-Suisse Securities: So, just speaking of loan losses, I’m just wondering you talked about PCLs being kind of growing in line with loan growth, but if I look at the retail formations in international, the ratio of formations to retail loans has been going up pretty consistently. I’m just wondering if you are seeing anything that that’s diverging a bit from your earlier expectations this year, but maybe a bit worth than you are expecting then also there is no recoveries to speak of in that retail formations line. I believe you hired some collections agents in Peru last year a large number. I wonder if there is (indiscernible) there where we start seeing recoveries on these impaired loans later in the year or if that’s just the nature of the business that you have unsecured lending, that’s driving that impaired loan formation…

Dieter W. Jentsch – Group Head, International Banking: At LatAm investor conference, we signaled that we’ll be seeing a rise in our — in some of our formations and in line with some of the businesses that we have in Latin America. Now, we also articulated some of our increases will be due to the acquisitions and so if you look at where the rise has come in the last six to nine months, it’s being a function of the acquisitions Colpatria and Credito Familiar. It’s been the growth in our retail business, which in LatAm has grown 18% year-over-year. And as Rob mentioned in his remarks that we’ve had in Peru we signaled that we had changed some of the mix and there was some moderate deceleration in the market. At the same time what we were doing was we were adding to our allowances, and our allowance today stands at 60%. We added two allowances, notwithstanding that our book is 68% secured. So we look at over the past year, we took a very I think a proactive approach to dealing with our allowance, dealing with our coverage ratios. We watched some of the underwriting practices in Peru, so we didn’t grow as fast as the market. Going forward – if you look forward we see that the catch up that we would have done on some of the allowances is behind us and that we’ll grow our PCLs in line with our retail growth. The recovery as you talked about were largely in the Peru on the commercial side and the business that you would see improve would generally be on the Micro Finance and on the unsecured side where we don’t have a lot of recoveries.

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Gabriel Dechaine – Credit-Suisse Securities: Then just, because we don’t see the commercial loan broken down in your presentation by country and international. So, I see PCL in Columbia, I don’t see in retail, I don’t see it in commercial. Just wondering if you’re still on track for that 3.75%, 3.50% PCLs ratio as it normalizes I guess beyond America?

Rick Waugh – CEO: Our PCL on the commercial side are sitting around 10 basis points to 15 basis points, and still relatively what you call benign formations on the commercial side.

A Closer Look: Bank of Nova Scotia Earnings Cheat Sheet>>