Royal Bank of Canada, TD, Scotia, CIBC, BMO, National Bank front $10 billion to finance financially risky Trans Mountain pipeline, analysis reveals

Tuesday May 31, 2022

Unprecedented loan guaranteed by public money, deal inked three weeks before being made public

(TORONTO, ON) — New analysis from Stand.earth revealed today that Canada’s top banks have stepped in to finance the next stage of construction of the over-budget Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Notably, there are seemingly no non-Canadian banks willing to backstop this financially risky and repeatedly delayed project. The financiers include:

  • RBC Capital Markets - Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers
  • TD Securities - Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers, Global Coordinators and Lead Agent.
  • BMO Capital Markets - Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce - Co-Lead Arrangers
  • National Bank Financial Inc - Co-Lead Arrangers
  • Bank of Nova Scotia - Co-Lead Arrangers

Due to a lack of transparency from the banks as well as the federal government, it is unclear what the total loan amounts per individual bank are. If equally parsed out, each bank would be responsible for $1.67 billion, suggesting these would be amongst the largest loans to fossil fuel companies delivered by each of these banks in recent years.. 

“Once again, we see that Canadian banks are leading the world in financing climate destructive, Indigenous rights violating projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project,” said Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director for Stand.earth. “It’s time for them to choose sides - are you going to help us reach our national climate goals, or do everything possible to hold us back?”

Interestingly, the loan was made effective on April 29, the same day the loan guarantee was approved by the federal cabinet which must approve loan guarantees of this size issued by the Canada Account, administered by Export Development Canada. This approval and the actual loan issuance occurred nearly three weeks before Finance Canada was forced to issue a statement on May 11 admitting the existence of this loan, when the deal was revealed by Politico.

“Clearly our big fossil banks and the federal government have been working in tandem for a long time behind the scenes, with no oversight or scrutiny by any members of the public, despite all Canadians owning this pipeline,” added Brooks. “Why have they been so secretive? Should we not have transparency at Canadian crown corporations when we are all on the hook for this massive, climate regressive, Indigenous rights violating investment?”

Canadian banks are consistently among the top 20 banks financing fossil fuel projects worldwide, led by RBC. RBC has sunk more than $263 billion into fossil fuel financing since the Paris Climate Agreement was enacted in 2016 and increased its financing of tar sands related companies by 50 per cent in 2021 over 2020 levels, despite making well advertised net zero commitments including joining the Mark Carney-lead Net Zero Banking Alliance last October. 

RBC is also a lead financier of the notorious Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, another over budget, delayed project, currently being opposed by hereditary leaders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. Recently, a request for investigation was submitted to the Competition Bureau in regards to RBC’s misleading claims of supporting the Paris Agreement while continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion. 

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Media contact: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)