TORONTO — In a Dec. 5 investor call, TD Bank announced it is thinning its dealer network in order to concentrate its efforts on a smaller number of dealerships.

Timothy D. Hockey, CEO of TD Canada Trust and President of TD Canada Trust, told participants that there’s an “80-20 rule at play” when it comes to working with the 9,000 U.S. dealerships currently in the bank’s network, meaning that 80 percent of the dealers account for 20 percent of the business and vice versa.

“So as a result, we expect that going forward, we'll have an actual smaller number of dealers as we concentrate our efforts from a servicing point of view on those dealers that really want partner up with us,” he said. “And so as a result, we expect to have slower originations over the next few quarters as we make that transition.”

TD Bank had a record year in 2013, delivering $3.8 billion in adjusted earnings, up 11% over 2012. Officials credited this to good volume growth, lower credit losses and effective cost management.

The company, however, is continuing to refine its business model when it comes to auto insurance. Earnings in that area were down 61% due to severe weather-related events in Alberta and Toronto, and increased general insurance claims, which totaled $0.45 per share.

Hockey and Michael Pedersen, president of TD Bank, were quick to point out that thinning the U.S. dealer network does not equate to a shift in strategy.

“We, from time to time, tweak our hours, but always on the basis of what customers want, need and on the basis of customer usage,” Pedersen explained. “This is a very important differentiator for us and we continue to have the best hours in every market we operate in, and that'll continue to be our goal.”

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