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Toronto-based Equitable Group Inc. has announced its intention to launch a covered bond program through its subsidiary, Equitable Bank.

In a release issued Wednesday, the firm said it had selected Barclays Bank PLC and TD Securities to assist Equitable Bank in developing the covered bond funding program, which it plans to launch as early as 2020, pending regulatory approval.

“Assuming success with this timetable, Equitable would likely become the first mid-sized Canadian bank to launch a covered bond program,” the company said in the release.

Covered bonds issued by Canadian banks are a source of funding for uninsured residential mortgages, subject to legislation administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Large financial institutions have approximately $158 billion of covered bonds outstanding, Equitable said in its release.