After a decade of futile struggles to secure a foothold, Royal Bank of Canada
The most obvious reason for the action would be to prevent more losses from mounting within RBC’s larger international unit. But let’s delve deeper.
It’s needless to say that the recent years have been anything but good for banks. Thus, bad fiscal performance shouldn’t be an exclusive motivator. And, in fact, a few of RBC’s U.S. metrics actually showed some signs of improvement. While U.S. operations incurred a net loss of $1 billion in 2009, they made a profit of $130 million last year due to declining provisions for credit losses and a goodwill impairment charge last year.
The ugly recession is finally over and the U.S economy is recovering, albeit at a snail's pace. At the moment, RBC is likely to fetch merely a song for its operations here, since normal premiums for retail banks are still a long way off. Besides, as I have already mentioned, competitors such as Bank of Montreal
The Foolish bottom line
Considering all of this, the selling off of its U.S retail unit doesn’t look like a very far-sighted step by RBC. Improving financials of the company complemented by the improving economic condition in the U.S give me a feeling that things may turn around for this retail business. And even if RBC has to get rid of this unit, it should wait for a while before it gets an offer that is worthwhile.