Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which has a joint custody venture in Canada with Mellon Trust, has urged the Canadian federal government to authorise mergers between banks and between banks and insurance companies to give domestic financial services groups the weight to compete in international markets.
In 2002 CIBC had a proposed merger with insurer Manulife Financial overruled by the federal government. ManuLife has since acquired John Hancock. In 1998 proposed mergers between Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal and CIBC and Toronto-Dominion Bank were also refused by the government. A moratorium on the issue was then enforced by the government, which recently re-opened the argument.
Both RBC and Bank of Montreal have also told the government they favour consolidation. The deadline for submissions on the issue to Canada’s Finance Department, which has the ultimate say on bank mergers, is 30 June 2004.