Canada's TD Bank launches tech-focused banking unit

FILE PHOTO: The Toronto Dominion (TD) bank logo is seen on a building in Toronto

(Reuters) -Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada's second-largest bank, on Tuesday launched a new business focused on providing banking and financing services to technology companies in its domestic market.

The bank intends to boost its presence in a highly saturated local market by expanding its reach to tech firms through the new unit, TD Innovations Partners (TDIP).

Shez Samji, a tech banker hired from the Canadian arm of failed U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank last year, will head the new unit.

The team, which also includes former Silicon Valley executives, brings experience from working with technology companies from the earliest stages to companies that are seeing growth.

Samji said TDIP will service technology and innovation companies through their lifecycle starting at the very first stages, from opening their business bank accounts before raising venture funding, to introducing startups to the right investors, board members, customers, and vendors.

Canadian banks, seeking new ways to cater to clients at home, are focusing on fintechs and small businesses, a niche space that has gathered attention from banks more recently. Most Canadian banks have made a foray in this space while a number of US banks are building a franchise.

"Competition is good for the industry, and forces everyone to bring their A game for the benefit of clients," Samji said.

"Our team understands and appreciates the founder journey and can be a connective source in the industry from the get-go," he said.

The business will also work with TD Wealth, the bank's wealth management and financing planning arm, to provide private banking and wealth management services.

Meanwhile in the US, TD has been under scrutiny in recent months as it faces anti-money laundering probes. It had set aside $450 million in April to cover potential fines for one of three regulatory probes and expects more monetary penalties.

($1 = 1.3746 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Pritam Biswas in Bengaluru and Nivedita Balu in Toronto; Editing by Mohammed Safi Shamsi and David Gregorio)