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Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal
Traded as TSX: BMO
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Financial services
Founded 1817
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Headquarters Bank of Montreal Head Office
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
First Canadian Place
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people
William A. Downe CEO, BMO Financial Group
J. Robert S. Prichard Chairman, BMO Financial Group
Thomas E. Flynn CFO, BMO Financial Group
Dave Casper CEO, BMO Harris Bank
Revenue C$16.718 billion (2014)
C$$4.333 billion (2014)
Total assets C$588.659 billion (2014)
Number of employees
46,778 (FTE, 2014)
Website Canada: .combmo
US: .combmoharris
Capital Markets: .combmocm

The Bank of Montreal (French: Banque de Montréal), (commonly BMO in either official language), or BMO Financial Group, is one of the Big Five banks in Canada. It is the fourth-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and based on assets, and among the ten largest banks in North America.[1]

On June 23, 1817, John Richardson and eight merchants signed the Articles of Association to establish the Bank of Montreal in a rented house in Montreal, Quebec. The bank officially opened its doors for business on November 3, 1817, making it Canada's oldest bank.[2] BMO's Institution Number (or bank number) is 001. In Canada, the bank operates as BMO Bank of Montreal and has more than 900 branches, serving over seven million customers.[3] The company also has substantial operations in the Chicago area and elsewhere in the United States, where it operates as BMO Harris Bank. BMO Capital Markets is BMO's investment and corporate banking division, while the wealth management division is branded as BMO Nesbitt Burns.

The company is ranked at number 131 on the Forbes Global 2000 list.[4]

The company has not missed a dividend payment since 1829, paying dividends consistently through major world crises such as WWI, The Great Depression, WWII, and the 2008 Financial Crisis, this makes Bank of Montreal's dividend payment history one of the longest in the world.[5]


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
    • Hockey Hall of Fame building 2.1
  • Canadian mergers 3
  • Executives 4
    • Founders 4.1
    • Presidents 4.2
    • chief executive officer 4.3
  • Operations 5
    • Corporate governance 5.1
  • Headquarters 6
  • Sponsorships 7
  • Mergers and acquisitions history 8
    • Purchase of Harris Bankcorp (1984) 8.1
    • Proposed merger with RBC (1998) 8.2
    • Purchase of BCPBank Canada (2006) 8.3
    • Purchase of GKST Inc (2008) 8.4
    • Purchase of AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada (2009) 8.5
    • Purchase of Diners Club International Franchise (2009) 8.6
    • Purchase of Marshall and Ilsley Corporation (2010) 8.7
    • Purchase of Lloyd George (2011) 8.8
    • Purchase of GE Capital's transportation-finance business (2015) 8.9
  • Credit agency ratings 9
  • Membership 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14
    • Official sites 14.1
    • Other sites 14.2


Bank of Montreal, 10 dollars (1935)First note printed for the series.
Bank of Montreal, 10 dollars (1935)
First note printed for the series.

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817 as the first bank in Canada.[6] The Bank of Montreal established branches in Newfoundland on January 31, 1895, following the collapse of the Newfoundland Commercial Bank and Union Bank of Newfoundland on December 10, 1894.[7]

In 1925, Bank of Montreal merged with the Molson Bank. BMO's operational head office moved to First Canadian Place on Bay Street in Toronto in 1977, while its legal headquarters remains at the historic Montreal structure it has occupied since 1847.

Bank of Montreal, like the other Canadian chartered banks, issued its own paper money from 1817 until 1942. Though the last notes were issued during that year, they may have circulated for some time after. When the Bank of Canada Act established The Bank of Canada in 1934, it became the sole issuer of currency in Canada and other notes were withdrawn.[8]

Today, the Bank of Montreal commonly goes by the nickname BMO (pronounced by employees, but B-M-O by the general public). It is a major international bank with a large number of connections across Canada and around the world.


Bank of Montreal's main Montreal branch at Place d'Armes in Montreal.

A number of buildings in which Bank of Montreal operates branches are designated by various levels of government as being of historic importance. These include:

A number of branches were designed by Andrew Taylor including

  • The Bank of Montreal in West End, Ste. Catherine Street West at Mansfield Street, Montreal (1889)
  • The Bank of Montreal in Notre Dame Street West Seigneurs Street, Montreal (1894)
  • The Bank of Montreal in Point St. Charles Branch, Wellington Street at Magdalen Street, Montreal (1901)
  • The Bank of Montreal, St. Catherine Street West at Papineau Street, Montreal (1904)
  • The Bank of Montreal, Perth, Ontario (1884)
  • The Bank of Montreal, Calgary, Alberta, Stephen Avenue at Scarth Street [now 1 Street SW], (1888)
  • Manager's residence for the Bank of Montreal, Quebec City, Quebec, Grande Allee, (1904)
  • The Bank of Montreal in Sydney, Nova Scotia; designated by The Cape Breton Regional Municipality as a registered heritage property in 2008, (1901)

Taylor also designed a three-storey structure for the Bank of Montreal on Corinthian columns supporting a classical pediment and remains the bank's legal headquarters.[18] The Bank of Montreal's operational head office is located at First Canadian Place in Toronto, designed by Edward Durrell Stone.

Hockey Hall of Fame building

Canadian mergers

BMO, Toronto
BMO, Edmonton

During its history, Bank of Montreal has merged with or acquired several other Canadian banks:



The following merchants signed the Articles of Association for the creation of the "Montreal Bank" on June 23, 1817:[20]

  1. Robert Armour (1781–1857) businessman, militia officer, and office holder
  2. John C. Bush (? – 1859)
  3. Austin Cuvillier (1779–1849)
  4. George Garden (c.1772–1828), director from 1817 to 1826 and vice-president from 1818 to 1822.
  5. Horatio Gates (1777–1834), merchant and banker, President of BMO 1832–1834
  6. James Leslie (1786–1873); bank director
  7. George Moffatt (1787–1865); bank director
  8. John Richardson (c. 1754 – 1831)
  9. Thomas A. Turner (1775 ? – 1834)


  1. John Gray (1817 to 1820); co-founder and first President
  2. Samuel Gerrard (1820 to 1826)
  3. Horatio Gates (1826); co-founder and President
  4. John Molson (1826 to 1834)
  5. Peter McGill (1834 to 1860)
  6. Thomas Brown Anderson (1860 to 1869)
  7. Edwin Henry King (1869 to 1873)
  8. David Torrance (1873 to 1876)
  9. George Stephen (1876 to 1881)
  10. C. F. Smithers (1881 to 1887)
  11. Donald Smith (1887 to 1905)
  12. George Alexander Drummond (1905 to 1910)
  13. Richard B. Angus (1910 to 1913)
  14. Sir Vincent Meredith (1913 to 1927)
  15. Sir Charles Blair Gordon (1927 to 1939)
  16. Huntly Redpath Drummond (1939 to 1942)
  17. George Wilbur Spinney (1942 to 1948)
  18. B. C. Gardner (1948 to 1952)
  19. Gordon Ball (1952 to 1959)
  20. G. Arnold Hart, president from 1959 to 1967 and CEO from 1959 to 1974
  21. Fred McNeil, CEO from 1975 to 1979
  22. William D. Mulholland, CEO from 1979 to 1989
  23. Matthew W. Barrett President from 1987 to 1990 and CEO from 1990-1999
  24. F. Anthony Comper CEO from 1999 to 2007
  25. Bill Downe (from March 1, 2007)

President was the highest-ranking position at the bank from its founding until the middle of the twentieth century, however this was superseded by chief executive officer in 1959, beginning with G. Arnold Hart. Several of his successors as President were CEO as well, however Matthew W. Barrett was the first top executive not to be styled president.

chief executive officer

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the senior officer of Bank of Montreal has been styled President and chief executive officer beginning with G. Arnold Hart. That officer often also held the title chairman of the board, until 2003 when a non-executive chairman was appointed.

The title of the second-ranking executive has changed several times and has often been left vacant. As deputy to Matthew Barrett, F. Anthony Comper was President and chief operating officer from 1990 to 1999, after which he became chairman and CEO while retaining the title of President. During most of Anthony Comper's tenure as CEO, while there was no official "number two" executive, the CEO of BMO Capital Markets (the investment banking division) was largely considered the second-most powerful officer. Bill Downe ascended from CEO of BMO Capital to chief operating officer of the BMO group, but held the title only for one-year until he succeeded Comper as President and CEO in 2007.

(partial list)


Branch at Little Portugal, Toronto, with Banco de Montreal signage in Portuguese
Bank of Montreal branch at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga
A typical BMO branch
BMO branch in Richmond Hill, Ontario

BMO is divided into three "client groups" which serve different markets. Each of the client groups operates under multiple brand names.

  • Personal and Commercial Client Group (retail banking), including
    • BMO Bank of Montreal (commercial and retail banking in Canada), including BMO's MasterCard credit cards; BMO Life, a life insurance company; and the former virtual bank division mbanx
    • BMO Harris Bank (commercial and retail banking in the United States, headquartered in Chicago)
  • Investment Banking Group (known as BMO Capital Markets)
  • Private Client Group (wealth management), including
    • BMO Nesbitt Burns (full service investing in Canada)
    • BMO InvestorLine (self-service investing in Canada)
    • BMO Harris Investor Services (advisory services in the United States)
    • BMO Private Banking (private banking in Canada and the United States) including Harris myCFO and Cedar Street Advisors (both affiliates of BMO Harris Bank) In 2014-2015 BMO rebranded BMO Harris Private Bank as BMO Private Bank.

In October 2008, Mediacorp Canada Inc. named BMO Financial Group one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers.[21]

Corporate governance

Current members of the Bill Downe, Christine A. Edwards, Ronald Farmer, David A. Galloway, Harold Kvisle, Eva L. Kwok, Bruce H. Mitchell, Philip Orsino, Martha C. Piper, Robert Prichard, Jeremy Reitman, Guylaine Saucier, Don M. Wilson III, and Nancy Southern.


BMO's official legal corporate head office is in Montreal, located on Saint Jacques Street. The chairman, President and some senior division executives work in the Toronto offices at First Canadian Place.


From at least 2007 through 2011, BMO was a sponsor for the Toronto Maple Leafs.[22][23] It has been a sponsor of the Toronto FC of Major League Soccer since 2007[24] and of its home arena named BMO Field at Exhibition Place.[25] and the Toronto Raptors. In 2010, BMO extended its agreement with the Toronto FC through the 2016 season.[26]

In 2005, BMO Bank of Montreal became the title sponsor for the annual May marathon race staged by the Vancouver International Marathon Society. The current name is "BMO Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon".[27]

Since 1997, Bank of Montreal has been a major sponsor of Skate Canada, and is the title sponsor of the BMO Financial Group Canadian Championships, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Challenges, BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Sectionals, and BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Synchronized Championships. It is also the presenting sponsor of the CanSkate Learn-to-Skate Program.[28]

On July 23, 2008, BMO announced it signed a one-race deal with IndyCar team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing to appear on the No. 06 car of Graham Rahal in the first-ever IRL-sanctioned Canadian IndyCar race at Edmonton.[29]

On June 14, 2011, the Montreal Impact announced Tuesday a five-year agreement with the Bank of Montreal (BMO) to become lead sponsor and jersey sponsor when it becomes an MLS expansion team in 2012.[30]

BMO is a founder and major sponsor of the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, an annual award of $100,000 granted to a Canadian director, playwright, or designer.[31]

Mergers and acquisitions history

Purchase of Harris Bankcorp (1984)

In 1984, the bank greatly expanded its operations in the United States through the purchase of Chicago's Harris Bank.[32] Harris, rebranded BMO Harris in 2011, has continued to expand additional acquisitions.

Proposed merger with RBC (1998)

In 1998, Bank of Montreal shocked the Canadian financial community and public by announcing plans to merge with RBC. Government regulators later blocked the proposed merger, along with a similar proposal by the Toronto-Dominion Bank to merge with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.[33] In December 2000, the banks were successful in merging their credit and debit card processing services to form Moneris Solutions.[34]

Purchase of BCPBank Canada (2006)

In 2006, BMO bought BCPBank, a Schedule C financial institution that was the Canadian division of Banco Comercial Português, with eight branches in the Toronto-West area.[35]

Purchase of GKST Inc (2008)

BMO bought Griffin, Kubik, Stephans, and Thompson (GKST) in 2008, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in municipal bonds, U.S. Treasury and agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities with approximately 100 employees handling sales, trading, research, public finance and underwriting.[36]

Purchase of AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada (2009)

In 2009, BMO purchased AIG's Canadian life insurance business, AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada, for approximately $330 million CAD. The transaction, including 400,000 customers and 300 employees, made BMO the second-biggest life insurer among Canadian banks. The new component was renamed BMO Life Assurance Company.[37]

Purchase of Diners Club International Franchise (2009)

In November 2009, Bank of Montreal announced the purchase of Diners Club International's North American franchise from Citibank. The transaction gave BMO exclusive rights to issue Diners cards in the U.S. and Canada. The deal closed in December 2009.[38]

Purchase of Marshall and Ilsley Corporation (2010)

In December 2010, BMO announced the purchase of Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, which operated as M&I Bank. Prior to acquisition, M&I was Wisconsin's largest and oldest bank, with branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona and the Indianapolis market.[39] When the transaction completed, M&I Bank, along with current Harris Bank branches were rebranded BMO Harris Bank.[40]

Purchase of Lloyd George (2011)

In January 2011, BMO announced the purchase of Hong Kong-based Lloyd George Management.[41] Lloyd George has offices in Hong Kong, London (UK), Singapore, Mumbai and Florida and manages a portfolio of approximately US$6 billion.

Purchase of GE Capital's transportation-finance business (2015)

In September 2015, BMO agreed to acquire General Electric Co. subsidiary GE Capital's transportation-finance unit. The business acquired has USD $8.7-billion (CAD $11.5-billion) of assets, 600 employees and 15 offices in the U.S. and Canada. Exact terms were not disclosed but the final price would be based on the value of the assets at closing plus a premium according to the parties.[42]

Credit agency ratings

Rating agency Moody's Investors Service began to review the long-term ratings of the Bank of Montreal and other Canadian banks because of concerns about consumer debt levels, housing prices, and a sizable exposure to capital markets in October 2012. In January 2013, the service announced downgrades for Bank of Montreal and five others.[43]


BMO is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks. It is also a member of:

BMO Harris (BMO's US operations) is a member of the Federal Reserve System (FRS) and a registered member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It is also a member of:

See also


  1. ^ Tor, Maria; Sarfraz, Tor (23 December 2013). "World's 100 Biggest Banks: China's ICBC #1, No U.S. Banks In Top 5".  
  2. ^ Sawyer, Deborah C. (2012). "Bank of Montreal".  
  3. ^ "Branch Banking". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  4. ^ "The Global 2000".  
  5. ^ "Big Five Canadian banks: Consistently paying dividends since the 1800s". Faux Capitalism. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  6. ^ Bélanger, Claude (January 2005). "Bank of Montreal".  
  7. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.  
  8. ^ "Bank of Canada Act" (PDF). Bank of Canada. 8 October 2008. p. 30, section 25. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  9. ^ "Bank of Montreal (Delta, BC)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  10. ^ "Bank of Montreal (New Westminster, BC)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  11. ^ "Bank of Montreal (Corner Brook, NL)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  12. ^ "Bank of Montreal (Winnipeg, MB)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  13. ^ "The Bank of Montreal Building (Amherst, NS)". 19 January 1981. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  14. ^ "Bank of Montreal (Hamilton, ON)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  15. ^ source document, previously cited, actually lists Barott, not Taylor
  16. ^ "Bank of Montreal (Ottawa, ON)". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  17. ^ "Bank of Montreal". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  18. ^ Harold D. Kalman (1906-04-17). "Bank Architecture". Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  19. ^ "Bank of Montreal, BCE Place". Spencer R. Higgins, Architect Incorporated. Retrieved 05-08-2014. 
  20. ^ The centenary of the Bank of Montreal, 1817–1917. Bank of Montreal. 1917. p. 8. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  21. ^ Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung (9 October 2012). "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Greater Toronto's Top Employers Competition". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  22. ^ "Coast to Coast: Toronto".  
  23. ^ "Scotiabank - Canada's Hockey Bank - Now Official Bank of the Toronto Maple Leafs" (Press release).  
  24. ^ Matsumoto, Rick (23 March 2007). "FC banks on jersey logo".  
  25. ^ "BMO Field to be Home for Toronto FC and Canada's National Soccer Teams" (Press release). BMO Financial Group. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  26. ^ "BMO Renews Toronto FC Jersey Sponsorship" (Press release). 5 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  27. ^ "BMO Bank of Montreal Takes the Lead, Becoming the Title Sponsor of the Vancouver Marathon" (Press release). BMO Financial Group. 20 December 2005. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  28. ^ "2010 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships Begin in London, Ontario" (Press release). BMO Financial Group. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  29. ^ "Wheels & Deals: Tony Stewart To Announce Number, Sponsors". Sports Business Journal ( 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  30. ^ "Impact Sign Five-Year Jersey Sponsorship With BMO For MLS Debut". Sports Business Journal ( 15 June 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  31. ^ "Jury Announced for 2008 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre" (Press release). 20 May 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  32. ^ "About Us". BMO Harris Bank. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  33. ^ "The Competition Bureau's Letter to the Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal".  
  34. ^ "Our Founding Partners". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  35. ^ "BMO Financial Group to Acquire bcpbank Canada" (Press release). BMO Financial Group. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  36. ^ Olver, Lynne (21 April 2008). "UPDATE 1-Bank of Montreal to buy U.S. bond dealer GKST".  
  37. ^ Callan, Eoin; Sturgeon, Jamie (13 January 2009). "CMO buys AIG's Canadian life insurance unit".  
  38. ^ "BMO Financial to buy Diners Club from Citigroup". Toronto Star ( 24 March 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  39. ^ Gores, Paul (17 December 2010). "M&I to be sold to Canadian bank for $4.1 billion".  
  40. ^ Gores, Paul (6 July 2011). "It's official: M&I is absorbed by Canada's BMO". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ( Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  41. ^ French, Cameron (11 January 2011). "UPDATE 2-Bank of Montreal buys Hong Kong's Lloyd George". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  42. ^ "BMO News Release BMO Financial to acquire GE Capital's transportation finance business" (Press release). 10 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  43. ^ "Moody's downgrades 6 Canadian banks".  

Further reading

  • Denison, Merrill, 1893–1975. Canada's first bank : a history of the Bank of Montreal. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, c1966. 2 v. : ill., maps, ports., (some folded, some col). ; 25 cm.
  • Nolin-Raynauld, Michelle, 1926–. The Bank of Montreal building on Place d'Armes, 1845–1901 / Michelle Nolin-Raynauld ; foreword by Jean Bélisle ; translated by Judith Berman. Montreal : Varia Press, c1999. 143 p. : facsm., ill., plans ; 23 cm. Originally presented as the author's thesis (master—Université de Montréal), 1984, under the title: L'architecture de la Banque de Montréal à la Place d'Armes. Translation of: L'édifice de la Banque de Montréal à la Place d'Armes, 1845–1901. ISBN 2-922245-12-8
  • BMO Financial Group Corporate Archives, Montreal
  • Rupert Canadian Investment Bank Review McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Limited 1992

External links

Official sites

  • BMO Bank of Montreal's web site
  • BMO Harris's website
  • BMO 2010 Annual Report

Other sites

  • BMO stock quote from TSX
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