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Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal/Banque de Montréal is Canada's fourth largest bank, and is classified as a Domestic Chartered Bank (Schedule I). It also has substantial operations in the Chicago area and elsewhere in the United States, where it uses the Harris name. Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, making it Canada's oldest bank. It operates under the corporate brand BMO Financial Group; its banking operations in Canada are now being marketed as BMO Bank of Montreal. BMO ranks number 189 on the Forbes Global 2000 list (2008 edition).


BMO (pronounced Bee-Moe) today is a major international bank with 1,100 branches across Canada and around the world. In 1977, BMO's operational headquarters moved to Toronto, while its legal head office remained in Montreal. Today, Bank of Montreal has assets of more than $387 billion CAD. (Source:


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


The following nine people signed the Articles of Association for the creation of the "Montreal Bank" on June 23, 1817:

  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)


(partial list)

Chief Executive Officer

Currently, the top executive at the Bank of Montreal is styled President and Chief Executive Officer. That officer often also held the title of chairman of the board, until 2003 when a non-executive chairman was appointed.

Prior to becoming CEO, they also spent time as chief operating officer (COO), the second-highest executive which was often formally titled President and Chief Operating Officer, if the top executive was titled Chairman and CEO.

(partial list)


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 (retail banking in Canada), including BMO's Mosaik Mastercard credit cards; BMO Life, a life insurance company; and the former virtual bank division mbanx
    • Harris Bank (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)
    • Harris Investor Services (advisory services in the United States)
    • BMO Harris Private Banking

In 2007, Bank of Montreal was named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, as published in Maclean's magazine, the only 'Schedule A' bank to receive this honour.

Corporate governance

Current members of the board of directors of BMO are: Robert Astley, Stephen Bachand, David Beatty, Robert Chevrier, Bill Downe, Ronald Farmer, David A. Galloway, Harold Kvisle, Eva L. Kwok, Bruce Mitchell, Philip Orsino, Robert Prichard, Jeremy Reitman, Guylaine Saucier, Don M. Wilson III, and Nancy Southern.


BMO still has its legal head office in Montreal, located on Saint-Jacques Street. However, the Chairman and President and all senior department executives work out of Toronto headquarters at First Canadian Place. Under the direction of the Toronto executive, the Montreal Place d'Armes office oversees the bank's economic (and, to some extent, political) relation with the province of Quebec. This reflects the preponderant place of the Toronto Stock Exchange and Bay Street in the Canadian economy.

Sport events sponsorship

BMO Bank of Montreal is the current title sponsor for the marathon race for the Vancouver International Marathon Society held each year in May. The current name is "BMO Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon".

Bank of Montreal is also 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.

BMO purchased the naming rights to the national soccer stadium (BMO Field) at Exhibition Place in Toronto, the home of the Major League Soccer team Toronto FC, which BMO is also sponsoring. BMO's logo is on the front of their jersey.

On July 23rd it was announced that BMO signed a one-race deal with IndyCar team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing to appear on the #06 car of Graham Rahal in the first-ever IRL-sanctioned Canadian IndyCar race at Edmonton.

Recent mergers and merger attempts

Purchase of Harris Bankcorp (1984)

In 1984 the bank greatly expanded its operations in the United States by purchasing Chicago's Harris Bank.

Proposed merger with RBC (1998)

In 1998 Bank of Montreal shocked the Canadian financial community by announcing plans to merge with RBC. The Canadian government later blocked the proposed merger. In December 2000, the banks were successful in merging their credit and debit card processing services to form Moneris Solutions.

Purchase of GKST Inc (2008)

In 2008 Bank of Montreal bought Griffin, Kubik, Stephans, and Thompson. GKST was a Chicago based employer that employs about 100 people in sales, trading, research, public finance and underwriting, and specializes in municipal bonds, U.S. Treasury and agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities.


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:


  • 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 2922245128
  • BMO Financial Group Corporate Archives, Montréal

External links

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