December 6, 2022
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Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Equitable Group Inc. EQB-T was already a fast-growing digital challenger in banking. With a $470-million deal to acquire Concentra Bank, it is looking to cement its place as a leading alternative to Canada’s biggest banks.

Equitable, which owns the branchless EQ Bank, expects the acquisition will make it the seventh-largest bank in the country. Adding Concentra’s $11.3-billion of assets would vault it ahead of Montreal-based Laurentian Bank of Canada, which is overhauling its strategy as part of a turnaround plan.

Even after the deal closes, Equitable will still be a fraction of the size of the dominant Big Six banks. But it presents a chance to double down in specialized businesses, where it has already found profitable niches, and adds new lines of business such as trust services to broaden its reach. It also gives Equitable a strong position providing back-end banking services to hundreds of credit unions and fintechs.

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Opinion

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The Quebec government’s decision to inject another US$300-million into Airbus’s A220 jet amounts to an all-or-nothing bet on salvaging an investment that has already cost Canadian taxpayers almost $2-billion and counting.

Quebec is hoping the additional public money, which will push the provincial government’s direct investment in the A220 to nearly US$1.4-billion since 2015, will increase its odds of eventually recouping its investment in a venture that has seemed cursed from the outset.

While the plane originally developed by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. has been hailed as a technological marvel that can help airlines slash their fuel costs and carbon emissions, its success will ultimately depend on Airbus’s willingness to promote it, possibly at the expense of its own A320 family of aircraft. The A220 competes with Airbus’s A319neo, which is assembled in France and Germany, while a proposed stretch version of the A220 would go up against the A320neo.

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