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National Bank to harness technology and sales outside Quebec to drive growth

MONTREAL - The National Bank of Canada is looking to increase revenues by $500 million over the next three years by expanding its reach outside of Quebec and using technology to bolster sales.The country's sixth-largest bank foresees revenues and profits accelerating especially outside its home base.The Montreal-based financial institution said Friday that it expects more than 40 per cent of revenues this year will come from outside Quebec, the most ever."We still see solid growth opportunities in and outside Quebec," CEO Louis Vachon told analysts during an investor day.In 2014, 44 per cent of revenues in wealth management and 72 per cent of financial markets revenues were generated in other provinces.In personal and commercial banking, it expects that 22 per cent of its revenues and 26 per cent of its pre-tax net income will come from the rest of Canada in 2018, up from more than 18 per cent in 2013.National is looking to extend its commercial and retail business in existing markets in provinces such as Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, rather than expand its geographic footprint. The bank has a strong presence in Ontario and has been involved in Alberta's oilpatch since the merger with the Mercantile Bank in 1986.The revenue and earnings growth will be driven by growing investments in technology to enhance digital banking and know more about its clients.National (TSX:NA) plans to mine data from various sources, including customer transactions, demographics, digital use, call centre activity, complaint history and third-party suppliers to create personalized offers that win more business. "The more we understand our clients the more relevant we can be," said David Furlong, senior vice-president marketing, experience delivery and transformation.For example, during a system test, the bank was able to help a new mortgage client buy a washing machine after offering to raise his credit card limit when geo-tracking showed he was entering a furniture store.The bank is also improving its call centre, website and notebook application capabilities. These areas are proven ways to drive sales, but National has so far lagged other Canadian banks.National serves 2.3 million retail customers and 135,000 business clients.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter

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