The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817 as the first bank in Canada. 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.
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Canada Act established The Bank of Canada in 1934, it became the sole issuer of currency in Canada and other notes were withdrawn.
Today, the Bank of Montreal commonly goes by the nickname BMO (pronounced /ˈbiːmoʊ/ 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.
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:The Bank of Montreal, 4896 Delta Street, Delta, British Columbia (1919)
The Bank of Montreal, 511 Columbia Street, New Westminster, British Columbia (1947-1948)
The Bank of Montreal, 322 Curling Street, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador (1915)
The Bank of Montreal, 426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba (1927)
The "Old Bank of Montreal", 100 Victoria Street East, also known as the "Heritage Court", Amherst, Nova Scotia (1906)
The Bank of Montreal, 1 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario (1928)
The Bank of Montreal, 144 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario built by Ernest Barott of Barott and Blackader, architects, of Montreal
The Bank of Montreal, 3 King Street, Waterloo, Ontario formerly known as the Molson's Bank, by architect Andrew Taylor (1914)
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 Saint Jacques Street in Montreal in 1818. The building was modelled after a Georgian townhouse with a small portico of Corinthian columns supporting a classical pediment and remains the bank's legal headquarters. The Bank of Montreal's operational head office is located at First Canadian Place in Toronto, designed by Edward Durrell Stone.The Bank of Montreal, Front & Yonge Streets, Toronto, Ontario (closed). The 1885 Beaux-Arts styled building designed by the Toronto firm of Darling & Curry has been the site of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1993.
During its history, Bank of Montreal has merged with or acquired several other Canadian banks:Commercial Bank of Canada (1868) of Kingston, Ontario - acquired through Merchants Bank
Exchange Bank of Yarmouth (1903)
People's Bank of Halifax (1905)
People's Bank of New Brunswick (1907)
Bank of British North America (1918)
Merchants Bank of Canada (1922), as well as several investment banking firms.
Molson Bank (1925)
Nesbitt, Thomson and Company -stock brokers (1987)
Standard Chartered Bank of Canada 2 retail branches (1990s)
Royal Bank of Canada (2000) – Merged merchant credit/debit card acquiring business with BMO Bank of Montreal's to form Moneris Solutions
Banco Comercial Português (BCP) Canadian operations (2006)
The following merchants signed the Articles of Association for the creation of the "Montreal Bank" on June 23, 1817:
- Robert Armour (1781–1857) businessman, militia officer, and office holder
- John C. Bush (? – 1859)
- Austin Cuvillier (1779–1849)
- George Garden (c.1772–1828), director from 1817 to 1826 and vice-president from 1818 to 1822.
- Horatio Gates (1777–1834), merchant and banker, President of BMO 1832–1834
- James Leslie (1786–1873); bank director
- George Moffatt (1787–1865); bank director
- John Richardson (c. 1754 – 1831)
- Thomas A. Turner (1775 ? – 1834)
- John Gray (1817 to 1820); co-founder and first President
- Samuel Gerrard (1820 to 1826)
- Horatio Gates (1826); co-founder and President
- John Molson (1826 to 1834)
- Peter McGill (1834 to 1860)
- Thomas Brown Anderson (1860 to 1869)
- Edwin Henry King (1869 to 1873)
- David Torrance (1873 to 1876)
- George Stephen (1876 to 1881)
- C. F. Smithers (1881 to 1887)
- Donald Smith (1887 to 1905)
- George Alexander Drummond (1905 to 1910)
- Richard B. Angus (1910 to 1913)
- Sir Vincent Meredith (1913 to 1927)
- Sir Charles Blair Gordon (1927 to 1939)
- Huntly Redpath Drummond (1939 to 1942)
- George Wilbur Spinney (1942 to 1948)
- B. C. Gardner (1948 to 1952)
- Gordon Ball (1952 to 1959)
- G. Arnold Hart, president from 1959 to 1967 and CEO from 1959 to 1974
- Fred McNeil, CEO from 1975 to 1979
- William D. Mulholland, CEO from 1979 to 1989
- Matthew W. Barrett President from 1987 to 1990 and CEO from 1990-1999
- F. Anthony Comper CEO from 1999 to 2007
- 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.
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)Matthew W. Barrett (1990 to 1999)
F. Anthony Comper (1999 to 2007)
Bill Downe (from March 1, 2007)
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.
Current members of the board of directors of BMO are: Robert Astley, David R. Beatty, Robert Chevrier, George Cope, 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. It has been a sponsor of the Toronto FC of Major League Soccer since 2007 and of its home arena named BMO Field at Exhibition Place. and the Toronto Raptors. In 2010, BMO extended its agreement with the Toronto FC through the 2016 season.
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".
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.
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.
On June 14, 2011, the Montreal Impact announced a five-year agreement with the Bank of Montreal (BMO) to become lead sponsor and jersey sponsor when it became an MLS expansion team in 2012.
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.
In 1984, the bank greatly expanded its operations in the United States through the purchase of Chicago's Harris Bank. Harris, rebranded BMO Harris in 2011, has continued to expand additional acquisitions.
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. In December 2000, the banks were successful in merging their credit and debit card processing services to form Moneris Solutions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. When the transaction completed, M&I Bank, along with current Harris Bank branches were rebranded BMO Harris Bank.
In January 2011, BMO announced the purchase of Hong Kong-based Lloyd George Management. Lloyd George has offices in Hong Kong, London (UK), Singapore, Mumbai and Florida and manages a portfolio of approximately US$6 billion.
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.
In June 2016, BMO agreed to acquire Greene Holcomb Fisher, a Minneapolis investment bank. Greene Holcomb Fisher also has offices in Seattle and Atlanta. The terms of the acquisition were not released.
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.
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:Air Miles
ATM Industry Association (ATMIA)
Cirrus for MasterCard card users
Diners Club North America
Cirrus for MasterCard card users
Diners Club North America
Interlink for VISA card users
NYCE for MasterCard card users
PLUS for VISA card users
BMO Harris Bank (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: