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Scotiabank’s Renewed Focus on North American Makes the Stock a Safer Dividend Investment

Scotiabank (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS) has unveiled a significant strategic shift under the leadership of its new CEO, Scott Thomson. The announcement focuses on reallocating resources to its core markets of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, highlighting a departure from its previous expansive approach in Latin America. This pivot is not only a testament to the bank's adaptive strategy but also signals a reinvigorated commitment to high-return, stable markets in North America, potentially reshaping its operational landscape.

This strategic reorientation is part of a longer-term trend at Scotiabank, which has exited over 25 higher-risk regions in the past decade. The bank's performance has notably lagged behind its peers in crucial metrics such as shareholder returns, revenue growth, and return on equity. This underperformance underscores the need for a revamped approach, focusing not merely on client volume but on profitable and value-driven growth.

Last quarter, Scotiabank announced a workforce reduction of about 3%, incurring a $354-million charge. Additionally, an $87-million charge was taken to reduce its real estate footprint.

This shift in strategy, initiated soon after Thomson's appointment as CEO in February, is a clear response to the bank's historical focus on volume growth. By pivoting towards a philosophy that emphasizes value and profitable growth, Scotiabank aims to enhance shareholder value more effectively.

Focusing on a leaner operation can bode well for Scotiabank as it can bring down some of its overall risk. Trading at just 1.1 times its book value and 11 times earnings, the stock offers good value to long-term investors. With a dividend yield of 6.7%, now can be a great time to buy shares of this top bank stock.