Scotiabank talking to E*Trade on Caribbean

NEW YORK Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:40pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which acquired E*Trade Financial Group Inc's (ETFC.O) Canada business in September, is in early talks with the online broker about expanding E*Trade into its Caribbean markets, Scotia Chief Executive Rick Waugh said Wednesday.

"We have a good relationship with them. They have great technology, and I've talked to (E*Trade CEO) Don Layton, and we have had some discussions on the Caribbean," Waugh told the Reuters Global Finance Summit.

"We are the dominant bank throughout the Caribbean. With the number of people looking to get their place in the sun, we felt there might be some opportunities for us," he said.

Waugh stressed the talks are preliminary, and that they could yield anything from a marketing agreement to a joint venture, or fall apart.

Canada's Scotiabank is already active in the Caribbean, he said. Besides serving Canadian "snowbirds" who spend the winter in the warmer climate, Scotiabank could win business from Americans and Europeans who spend time in the Caribbean, Waugh said.

In July, Scotia agreed to pay $442 million for E*Trade's Canadian operations, gaining 125,000 active brokerage accounts. Scotia derives about one-third of its revenues from the Caribbean and Central America, where it has 200 branches in more than 20 countries.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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