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FP/wire say Big Six banks talk green, lend to oil firms

2020-02-13 09:40 ET - In the News

See In the News (C-BMO) Bank of Montreal

The Financial Post reports in its Thursday edition that Canada's big banks may be embracing green, but that has not stopped them from lending more and more money to fossil-fuel companies. A Bloomberg dispatch to the Post says that the six largest lenders had $58.8-billion in energy loans on their books at the end of the fiscal year, a 59-per-cent jump from five years ago, even after touting billions of dollars in climate-friendly commitments. Much like their counterparts globally, Canadian lenders are under pressure to show they are doing their part in fighting carbon emissions and rising temperatures. However, they are steadfast in supporting an industry that is key to Canada's resource-heavy economy. Energy accounts for about 10 per cent of the Canadian economy and a fifth of exports. "The Canadian banks understand there's an issue here and they're trying to work on it," said Laura Zizzo at Toronto climate consultancy Mantle314. Energy financing is becoming slightly less important for the banks, which collectively lend more to the real estate and financial services industries. Oil and gas loans accounted for an average of 5.2 per cent of corporate financing at the big banks in 2019, down from 6.3 per cent five years ago.

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