Edmund Clark, chief executive officer at Toronto-Dominion Bank, faced shareholder pressure in 2004 when he announced plans to acquire a U.S. lender. "Every analyst said 'You see, another dumb Canadian trying to go into the U.S.," Mr. Clark said. "They don't know how to do it. They don't have the guts. They're too conservative." Mr. Clark's efforts have paid off, however, as the Canadian bank has become one of the 10 largest lenders in the U.S.

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