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Banking On America: How TD Bank Rose To the Top and Took On the U.S.A.    by Howard Green order for
Banking On America
by Howard Green
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

If you are interesting in financial institutions and who runs them, Howard Green's Banking On America: How TD Bank Rose to the Top and Took on the U.S.A. is a book you might want to read.

Green brings this Canadian Bank to life by focusing on the people who built it into the powerful institution it is today on both sides the border. You'll meet Toronto-Dominion Bank's senior executive Keith Gray, the man who built the bank's Green Line discount brokerage business, and Ed Clark, the CEO who grew the bank to the point where it has three-quarters of a trillion dollars in assets, 22 million customers and more branches in the United States than it does in Canada.

Green describes the early days when Bank of Toronto and Dominion Bank merged and then absorbed other financial entities such as Canada Trust. This early history is important in explaining how Toronto-Dominion (TD) has become one of Canada's major banks.

It was the decision to enter the American retail banking marketplace that was the factor that set TD apart from its peers. Other Canadian banks, such as Royal Bank of Canada, had tried in the past but the result was far from satisfactory. 'Incursions into the U.S. market are like forbidden fruit for Canada's banks extremely tempting, but fraught with risk,' writes Green.

After a short and unsuccessful attempt at banking on the West Coast (four branches in San Francisco and Los Angeles) in the 1970s, TD pulled back and bided its time.

When it returned again to the U.S. market, the bank and its leaders were ready to launch an effort that would be successful. Green follows this effort step-by-step and explains why the second time was definitely the charm.

Today TD Ameritrade reputedly does more daily trades than any discount brokerage in the world and TD itself has over 1,300 branches in the United States and continues to open more.

Since its humble beginnings in 1855 when it was founded by a group of millers and grain dealers, TD has been one of the more innovative banking institutions not only in its home country but also in the world. How it has reached the lofty position as an international financial institution with a solid reputation, and avoided the infamy suffered by similar American banks during the recent melt-down makes for entertaining reading.

Howard Green writes for a general audience so don't fear you need a degree in economics or accounting to understand this book. That isn't the case at all. Banking on America is totally accessible for the lay reader.

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