March 19, 2008 / 3:49 PM / 12 years ago

TD Bank to Drop Banknorth Name in U.S. Rebranding

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), which has nearly completed the takeover of New Jersey-based Commerce Bancorp (CBH.N), said it will start rebranding its U.S. retail bank subsidiaries this year and will drop the Banknorth name in 2009.

TD Bank, Canada’s second-largest bank by market value, said on Wednesday that the two U.S. units — TD Banknorth in the New England area, and Commerce Bank in the Mid-Atlantic states and Florida — will eventually become known as TD Commerce Bank.

In the next few months, the combined 1,100-branch U.S. network will be rebranded, starting with current Commerce branches or “stores.” TD Banknorth is expected to make the change “sometime in 2009,” the bank said.

TD acquired a majority stake in Portland, Maine-based Banknorth in 2004, and bought the remaining stake in 2007.

Its more recent purchase of Commerce Bancorp, valued at about $7.5 billion in cash and TD shares, has received approval from Commerce shareholders and U.S. regulators. The transaction has not yet officially closed, a TD spokesman said.

Even before the credit crunch caused billions of dollars of losses at global investment banks, TD said it preferred to focus on North American retail banking because it was more stable than wholesale banking.

TD also owns 40 percent of online brokerage TD Ameritrade (AMTD.O).

Its larger Canadian rival, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), plans to rebrand its U.S. operations starting in April. RBC, which recently bought Alabama National BanCorp, is dropping the Centura part of its U.S. name and will become RBC Bank.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

Reporting by Lynne Olver; editing by Rob Wilson

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