Scotiabank profit climbs on domestic lending, acquisitions

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia on Tuesday reported a 6 percent rise in quarterly profit on the back of recent acquisitions and higher lending volumes, and it increased its quarterly dividend.

The results from Scotiabank, Canada's No. 3 lender, caps off a series of reports that showed the country's top banks had continued to earn solid returns from domestic lending despite signs that heavily indebted consumers were slowing their borrowing.

Scotiabank's net income was C$1.71 billion, or C$1.32 a share, in the first quarter ended January 31, compared with C$1.61 billion, or C$1.24 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding an amortization charge, the bank earned C$1.34 a share, meeting the analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Canadian personal and commercial banking income rose 7 percent to C$575 million, helped higher assets and deposits as well as by the acquisition in late 2012 of Dutch lender ING Groep's Canadian online bank.

Global wealth and insurance profit climbed 15 percent to C$327 million, benefiting from strong markets and recent acquisitions in Colombia and Peru.

Income at Scotiabank's international banking division, which covers much of Latin America and parts of Asia, slipped 2 percent to C$401 million.

"Growth in both assets and deposits was strong across all key markets, particularly in Latin America and Asia," Brian Porter, who took over as the bank's chief executive officer last year, said in a statement. "Results were, however, down slightly compared to last year due mainly to lower margins."

The global banking and markets division, Scotiabank's wholesale banking unit, earned C$339 million, down 13 percent on the year.

Scotiabank boosted its quarterly dividend by 2 Canadian cents, or 3.2 percent, to 64 Canadian cents a share, making it the fourth Canadian bank to do so this quarter.

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)