Dec 5, 2019 - TD Bank Group
Bharat Masrani: Performance and progress in 2019
By Bharat Masrani
Chief Executive Officer and Group President
In 2019, TD advanced its strategy and delivered record earnings through a period of growing economic uncertainty.
Earnings grew to $11.7 billion, revenue and market share expanded across our retail businesses on both sides of the border, and we continued to move our wholesale strategy forward in a more volatile market.
Our shareholders benefited from this progress. Our dividend increased by 11% on a full-year basis and TD delivered above average Total Shareholder Return for the past three, five and ten year periods.
During the course of the year, we remained focused on building the capabilities needed to successfully meet our customers' changing expectations, and for TD to compete and grow well into the future. We further sharpened our omni-channel strategy, introduced new digital capabilities and invested in our branches and stores to elevate advice and better meet the needs of those we serve through legendary, personalized, and connected experiences. We also improved how we run the Bank – simplifying processes, accelerating project delivery, and strengthening our cybersecurity and platform resiliency.
TD ended 2019 as an even stronger and more competitive bank.
Extending our competitive advantage
We benefited from our diversified, retail-focused business model and North American reach.
Customers turn to TD for advice when it matters most – buying a home, saving and investing for the future, financing a business, or protecting the things that matter most. In 2019, our focus on elevating advice and providing legendary service helped us expand our customer base and maintain the trust of millions of individuals and businesses across our footprint. Importantly, through a well-defined risk culture, we delivered this growth while maintaining a strong balance sheet and capital position.
More recently, we announced our support for a transformative transaction between TD Ameritrade (a publicly-traded company in which we are a major shareholder) and Charles Schwab, which we believe will create value for all TD Ameritrade shareholders, including TD. Through this transaction, TD will become the largest shareholder of Schwab, a company with the scale and size needed to drive continued growth in the U.S.
We remained anchored in our purpose, to enrich the lives of our customers, communities and colleagues.
At TD, we know our customers don't live to bank, they bank to live. Our investments in 2019 both simplified and enhanced their interactions with us. To name a few examples, TD Wheels provided our Canadian customers with new ways to buy and finance automobiles, while our chatbot, TD Clari, accelerated the delivery of real-time answers to everyday financial questions. TD GoalAssist added industry-leading insights and online advice for Canadian Direct Investing customers, and our U.S. mobile bill pay tool added more flexible features to deliver a better experience for millions of customers.
No company succeeds for the long term without recognizing the integral role it plays in society. These aren't just words – at TD, they are core to who we are and part of our purpose. In 2019, we provided $126-million through TD's Ready Commitment across our footprint. And through the TD Ready Commitment Network we unlocked the talent and knowledge of thousands of our colleagues, who contributed by volunteering in their communities.
People remain at the heart of our success and we made significant investments in their future as well. More than 45,000 colleagues actively engaged in training and skills development through TD Thrive – our new personalized training and development platform – to help them succeed, grow and prepare for tomorrow. We also launched new programs across TD to generate and act on colleague-generated ideas to improve operations and solve customer problems.
Throughout the year, building an inclusive bank – where every colleague feels welcome, able to thrive and grow their career – remained a key focus. These efforts allowed us to attract and retain the best people in a highly competitive labour market and to create a culture of empowerment that is critical to our continued success.
We continued to shape the future of banking.
From our branches and stores to our contact centres and across online and digital platforms, our omni-channel strategy focused on the customer and their needs, regardless of how they chose to engage with us.
In 2019, we further leveraged the power of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to transform data into insights and deepened our knowledge of our customers to better meet their changing needs and expectations. Through our work with a cross-section of experts from across the private and public sectors, we also led a broad industry-wide conversation on the responsible use of AI in financial services. With more than 26 million customers across North America, we recognize the threats of cybersecurity and the risks they pose and invested in new capabilities to help protect our customers from existing and emerging threats. The recent opening of our new TD Fusion Centre – a multi-disciplinary, agile workspace in Toronto – improved our ability to detect and respond to cyber threats.
A look ahead
TD is a 164-year-old growth company. In 2019, we continued to build for the future while delivering growth and value for our shareholders. We achieved this by remaining true to our purpose – supporting customers through life's journey, helping to open doors to new opportunity in communities across North America, and enabling thousands of colleagues to grow, succeed and thrive.
As a result, we are approaching the year ahead from a position of strength, with a diverse and growing base of customers and leading franchises in diversified markets. We have a brand that stands apart, built over decades as we continue to earn and preserve the trust of those we serve. Though we expect macro-economic and interest rate uncertainty to remain, we will continue to make the investments needed to shape tomorrow.
The commitment and dedication of more than 85,000 TD colleagues shone through in 2019. Together, we made tremendous progress. I thank them for their efforts, our customers for their trust, and you, our shareholders, for your continued support.