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Equitable granted Canadian Schedule I bank license

TORONTO, Jun 27, 2013, 2013 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --Equitable Group Inc. (TSX: ETC and ETC.PR.A) today announced that it has received approval from the Minister of Finance to continue its wholly owned subsidiary, The Equitable Trust Company, as a Schedule I bank called Equitable Bank in English and Banque Équitable in French, effective July 1, 2013.

Converting The Equitable Trust Company into Equitable Bank is part of a strategy to strengthen the Equitable brand, established in 1970, to appeal to a new generation of financial services customers.

"Equitable's conversion to a Schedule I bank will elevate our standing with Canadian depositors, deposit brokers, borrowers and mortgage brokers," said Andrew Moor, President and Chief Executive Officer. "While the conversion does not alter our business model, market focus, required capital levels, risk tolerance or proven economics, it does represent an important evolution that should improve our long-term competitiveness and growth prospects in the Canadian financial services industry."

Equitable announced its intention to apply to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada ("OSFI") and to the Minister of Finance, Canada for consent to make this change in February 2013.

"Canada has some of the world's most stringent banking standards and the fact that we received our Letters Patent to continue business as a bank in this short period of time reflects Equitable's long-standing status as a regulated financial institution under the Trust and Loans Companies Act," said Mr. Moor. "As such, the conversion application was inexpensive and generally straightforward. However, I would like to thank the Equitable team and professional advisors for their hard work and let our customers know that as Equitable Bank, we will maintain the level of service excellence and responsiveness that they have come to know and expect of us over the years as a Canadian trust company leader."

Key Equitable Milestones

1970: The Equitable Trust Company founded in Toronto and licensed under the predecessor statute of the Trust and Loan Companies Act (Canada) to offer residential mortgages to purchasers of properties located primarily in the GTA and mortgage financing for commercial properties on a selective basis.

2004: Equitable Group Inc. created to serve as the holding company of The Equitable Trust Company and subsequently taken public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in an initial public offering of common shares.

2005: Equitable begins to serve single family home buyers and mortgage brokers in Alberta.

2008: Equitable expands its single family lending to Winnipeg and surrounding area.

2010: Equitable opens an office in Montreal and begins to serve the commercial mortgage market in Quebec and enters the residential market in British Columbia.

2011: Expansion of residential lending in Regina and Saskatoon.

2012: Equitable begins to serve single family home buyers and mortgage brokers in the Greater Halifax area, thus becoming a coast-to-coast single family mortgage lender.

About Equitable Group Inc.

Equitable Group Inc.'s shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols ETC and ETC.PR.A. Effective July 1, 2013, please visit www.equitablebank.ca for more information.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation, including statements found in the management commentary above. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budgeted", "scheduled", "planned", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, closing of transactions, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to risks related to capital markets and additional funding requirements, fluctuating interest rates and general economic conditions, legislation and regulatory developments, the nature of our customers and rates of default and competition as well as those factors discussed in Equitable' s documents filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

Although Equitable has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Equitable does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained herein, expect in accordance with applicable securities laws. See Equitable's continuous disclosure documents for further information on forward-looking statements.

SOURCE: Equitable Group Inc.

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2013/27/c4065.html

SOURCE: Equitable Group Inc.

Andrew Moor President and Chief Executive Officer 416-515-7000   Tim Wilson Vice
President and Chief Financial Officer 416-515-7000




Equitable Bank is a member of the following institutions:

AMBACAAMP / ACCHACDIC / SADCIMBAMBABC