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Laurentian shareholders nervous about potential referendum: CEO

Laurentian Bank CEO and President Réjean Robitaille speaks during the bank's annual general meeting in Montreal, Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The head of Laurentian Bank says the risk of another referendum in Quebec is rattling some of its shareholders, but Réjean Robitaille says the bank will continue to grow regardless of the party in power – the Liberals or Parti Québécois – following next week's provincial election.

Polls suggest the Liberals are leading as the campaign comes to a close, but Robitaille says the possibility of the PQ winning a majority has created some uncertainty, especially among investors based in the rest of Canada and in the United States.

Laurentian Bank, Quebec's third-largest financial institution, has generated record results each of the past seven years, doubling its assets to $34-billion, by developing a niche that will continue to deliver strong results regardless of political change.

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Helped by the acquisitions of MRS Companies and AGF Trust, about half of the bank's profit and 40 per cent of its loans come from outside Quebec.

Robitaille sees that continuing to grow as Laurentian continues to diversify its geographic reach and types of service to reduce risk.

The key areas of focus are its B2B Bank Trust subsidiary and commercial lending, with should each contribute 40 per cent of the bank's profit.

Retail banking almost exclusively in Quebec will generate the remaining 20 per cent.

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