The Bank of Montreal (BMO) was established in 1817, and is the oldest incorporated bank in Canada. From its inception, the Bank of Montreal served as Canada's central bank, until the Bank of Canada was established 1935. BMO is currently the fourth largest bank in Canada in terms of assets, and the eighth largest in North America. The bank specializes in three areas, which include personal and commercial banking, investment banking, and wealth management. It is a public company and its shares are traded on both the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In 2018, the bank generated $23 billion in revenue and $5.5 billion in profits, and had assets valued at $774 billion. The Bank of Montreal has more than 12 million customers and 45,454 employees.
The headquarters of the Bank of Montreal was initially located on Saint Jacques Street in Montreal, Quebec. Named the Bank of Montreal Head Office, the building was designed British-born architect John Wells and completed in 1847. The building's design was inspired by the former head office of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, which is located Edinburgh and built in a neoclassical style, and the pediment of the building was constructed by Sir John Steele. Between 1901 and 1905, the building was enlarged by New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. Although BMO's official headquarters remain in Montreal, the bank's operational headquarters, referred to as it executive office, was relocated in 1977 to First Canadian Place in Toronto, Ontario, due to political instability in the province of Quebec.
Bank of Montreal In The 21st Century
The Bank of Montreal has issued dividends each year without fail since 1829, and even paid out dividends throughout the First World War, Great Depression, Second World War, and financial crisis of 2008. As a resuylt, BMO now holds the world record for the bank with the most extended history of dividend payments. Currently, the bank has expanded into different countries, and in 2010 it became the first Canadian bank to be incorporated in China, where it is traded as BMO ChinaCo. In the same year, the company acquired Marshall & Ilsley of Milwaukee, which was later merged with Harris Bank. The bank also acquired Foreign & Colonial Investment of London in 2014, which was later rebranded as BMO Commercial Property Trust in 2019. BMO currently has more than 1,500 branches in Canada and the United States.
BMO's Chief Executive Officer
From the time of Bank of Montreal's establishment until 1959, the bank's senior-most position was president. Starting in 1959, the chief executive officer (CEO) became the highest position. The first Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Montreal was G. Arnold Hart, who served in the role from 1959 to 1974. The CEO also served as chairman of the board until 2003, when a non-executive chairman position was introduced. The name of the second-ranking executive has been changed several times. Initially, the title of the president was used for the second-ranking executive, and later chief operating officer. The position has also remained vacant on numerous occasions.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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