TD Throws Down the Gauntlet on Prime

TD Bank has announced:

it has lowered its prime lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.50 per cent, effective October 9, 2008.
“Like all financial institutions, we have been watching the key lending rates very closely. Continuing market turmoil has steadily driven up the cost of borrowing for financial institutions. This makes it challenging to match the Bank of Canada rate cut at this time. We recognize the efforts the Bank of Canada is making and, despite the fact that our cost of funds remains high, we have decided to reduce our rate by 25 bps. We see this as a balanced move in managing our funds and passing along the intended benefits to our customers,” said Tim Hockey, President and CEO, TD Canada Trust.

This follows the Bank of Canada announcement:

Throughout the current financial crisis, central banks have engaged in continuous close consultation and have cooperated in unprecedented joint actions such as the provision of liquidity to reduce strains in financial markets.

Inflationary pressures have started to moderate in a number of countries, partly reflecting a marked decline in energy and other commodity prices. Inflation expectations are diminishing and remain anchored to price stability. The recent intensification of the financial crisis has augmented the downside risks to growth and thus has diminished further the upside risks to price stability.

Some easing of global monetary conditions is therefore warranted. Accordingly, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, Sveriges Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank are today announcing reductions in policy interest rates. The Bank of Japan expresses its strong support of these policy actions.

Bank of Canada lowers overnight rate target by 1/2 percentage point to 2 1/2 per cent

The Bank of Canada today announced that it is lowering its target for the overnight rate by 1/2 percentage point to 2 1/2 per cent. The operating band for the overnight rate is correspondingly lowered, and the Bank Rate is now 2 3/4 per cent.

So Prime and the Bank of Canada rate have now decoupled … the potential for this was discussed in PrefBlog on January 16.

It will be most interesting to see what the other banks do … will they seek to maintain their margins and follow TD? Or will they go after market share and follow the Bank?

Update: Margins it is!

CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and Bank of Montreal soon followed, saying they would cut their prime by a quarter point as well to 4.5 per cent from 4.75 per cent, effective Thursday.

3 Responses to “TD Throws Down the Gauntlet on Prime”

  1. […] TD threw down the gauntlet and Flaherty’s picked it up. […]

  2. […] is an issue in Canada, despite the fact that we do not have a fractional reserve system. There were problems with the transmission of the penultimate rate cut which were resolved with extraordinary measures via the […]

  3. […] the penultimate cut, TD threw down the gauntlet by not maintaining the spread; this resulted in a $25-billion liquidity injection, later increased […]

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