BMO Bankcorp (formerly Harris Bankcorp) represents the US retail banking operations of Canada's Bank of Montreal. It is the holding company for BMO Harris Bank (Harris), which offers personal and commercial banking and other financial services through about 700 bank branches in the Chicago area and the Midwest, as well as Arizona, Florida, and a handful of other states. In addition to BMO Harris Bank, the company's operations include financial planner Harris Private Bank and its Harris SBSB division, and wealth manager Harris myCFO. BMO Bankcorp is growing Harris through such acquisitions as Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) in 2011 and the FDIC-assisted purchase of the failed AMCORE Bank in 2010.
The bank's goal is to expand to 1,000 US locations. The AMCORE deal added more than 50 branches in the Midwest; previous acquisitions in the region include First National Bank & Trust, Merchants and Manufacturers Bancorporation, and Ozaukee Bank.
The M&I deal was not only BMO's largest ever in the States, but was the largest bank merger in the US in two years. It brought in more than 300 branches in nearly 10 states (more than doubling Harris Bank's network). Following the deal, Harris Bank and M&I Bank merged to form BMO Harris Bank. M&I Bank operated under its legacy brand until late 2012, when the two banks' systems were integrated.
Harris Bank experienced a big jump in revenues (47%) in 2011, thanks in part to the M&I acquisition, which added to the banks loan portfolio and deposits. Net income also increased, jumping up 75%. As Harris digests the M&I transaction, the bank is concentrating on controlling costs and building its commercial banking business while keeping an eye on possible future acquisitions.
In addition to its banking operations BMO Bankcorp also is strengthening its wealth management division. In 2012 BMO Financial acquired Portland, Oregon-based CTC Consulting. The wealth management firm, which joined Harris myCFO, expanded the company's US footprint and sharpen its focus on ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Harris traces its roots to 1882 when N.W. Harris & Co. was founded in Chicago as an investment banking firm. Bank of Montreal acquired the former Harris Bankcorp in 1984. – less