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Feb 22, 2018

CIBC beats first-quarter profit estimates, raises dividend

CIBC shares rise after topping first-quarter estimates

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce set the bar for its peers on Thursday with fiscal first-quarter profit easily beating expectations.

Overall net income in the three months ending Jan. 31 was $1.33-billion. On an adjusted basis, CIBC earned $1.43-billion or $3.18 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting $2.83 in earnings per share.

Stripping out one-time items, profit in the bank's core Canadian business surged 17 per cent year-over year to $658 million. Supplemental information released by the bank shows its Canadian mortgage book inched up to $203-billion from $186-billion a year earlier, and $201-billion in the previous quarter.

Industry watchers are looking for early signs in the banks' first-quarter earnings of impact of recent changes to the banking landscape such as stricter rules surrounding uninsured mortgages as of Jan. 1.

Canada's biggest banks have cautioned that the tougher qualifying requirements could present a headwind to loan originations. The new rules introduced by the federal financial services regulator require would-be homebuyers who have a down payment larger than 20 per cent to prove they can continue to service their mortgage if interest rates rise.

It is too early to gauge the extent of the impact of the rule changes, as well as the January interest rate hike, said Christina Kramer, CIBC's group head of personal and small business banking for Canada.

"We saw some pull forward in November and December, so January itself is not a good indication alone," she told analysts. "So early days, we're not seeing any big change to customer behaviour."

Adjusted earnings surged 352 per cent in its U.S. division thanks to last year’s takeover of PrivateBancorp.

CIBC benefited from improved credit quality in the quarter, as total loan loss provisions fell 28 per cent year-over-year.

The bank also announced on Thursday it will boost its quarterly dividend to $1.33 from $1.30.

"We are creating value for shareholders by building a relationship-focused bank, diversifying our earnings growth in the U.S. region, improving operational efficiencies and maintaining disciplined capital deployment," CEO Victor Dodig said in a press release.

-- With files from the Canadian Press 

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