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Here’s how much profit Canada’s big banks made this year

Despite concerns that the sluggish economy, tapped out borrowers and low interest rates could dampen the profitability of Canadian banks, the country’s biggest lenders earned a combined $34.88 billion in profits over the past year.

The earnings bonanza represented an increase of nearly five per cent and was greater than the GDP of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The higher earnings come as the country’s Big 5 lay off thousands of employees in individual efforts to contain costs in anticipation of a slower lending environment ahead.

— With a file from The Canadian Press.

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