Toronto-Dominion Bank expects to be New York City's third-largest lender by branches within two years, Chief Executive Officer Ed Clark said, surpassing Bank of America Corp. (BAC)

"We're still shooting to do it by 2016," Clark, 66, said today in a telephone interview. Most of the 37 U.S. branches TD Bank plans to add this year are in the city, he said, "so it's not like we're not doing it."

Clark set a goal in February 2012 to make the bank New York City's third-largest by branches, up from fifth at the time. TD Bank currently ranks fourth with 53 branches, compared with JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s 156, Citigroup Inc.'s 81 and Bank of America's 62, according to data compiled by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

Toronto-Dominion, Canada's largest lender by assets, began its U.S. expansion in 2004 when the Toronto-based company agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Portland, Maine-based Banknorth Group Inc. Clark led the U.S. push during his tenure.

"Would you actually have believed that a bank could come into New York from scratch, just putting branches on corners and stealing market share and get where we got to?" Clark said. "That's really a business miracle."

Still, low interest rates and slower growth make reaching the goal difficult because TD is a "deposit-heavy institution," Clark said.

Clark is stepping down Nov. 1 after leading the lender for almost 12 years. He'll be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Bharat Masrani, 58. Clark will make his final speech as CEO at the Empire Club of Canada today in Toronto.

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