March 30, 2017 / 1:37 PM / a year ago

Canada's TD Bank denies widespread problem with sales practices

TORONTO, March 30 (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank’s chief executive officer told shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting on Thursday that it does not have a “widespread problem” with its sales practices, responding to a report staffers were pressured to meet targets.

TD branch staff have said they moved customers to higher fee accounts and raised their overdraft and credit card limits without their knowledge, according to a report by CBC News, Canada’s public broadcaster, on March 10.

“People behaving unethically in order to achieve these (sales) goals would be inconsistent with who we are as an institution, and I don’t believe we have a widespread problem with that type of behavior,” CEO Bharat Masrani said.

Masrani said the experiences described by some employees were against “the very fiber of our culture.”

“As always, if we can improve the way we do things, we will. Indeed, we routinely conduct reviews of our business for this very purpose,” Masrani said.

He said the bank was taking “objective advice” from an outside firm regarding the matter.

CBC News reported later in March that staff at Canada’s other big banks had said they were put under similar pressures, raising questions about whether the industry is being properly scrutinized by regulators.

Masrani also addressed protests over the bank’s role in funding the Dakota Access pipeline, which will bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands to U.S. refineries but has been criticized by environmentalists.

“TD believes conventional energy sources will sustain our economy, create jobs and support a standard of living that our customers and communities want for the foreseeable future,” he said. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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