RPT-BAY STREET-Slimmer Canadian bank profits seen as lending slows

Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:14am EST
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* Profit seen rising 7 pct at banks

* Bank of Montreal is first to report on Tuesday

* Housing slowdown, consumer lending to pinch growth

* Five of six banks expected to boost dividends

* Shares of top three banks at or near record highs

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) -

Canada's banks made double-digit profit growth look easy last year. But the going got tougher in the first quarter of this fiscal year as a cooling housing market and a low interest-rate environment started to sap the profits the Big Six earn on loans.   Continued...