Bank of Montreal CEO Sees U.S. Generating Third of Its Earnings

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of Montreal’s businesses in the U.S. may expand to generate a third of the lender’s earnings within three to five years, underpinned by stronger economic growth in the region, Chief Executive Officer Darryl White said.

“If we continue doing the things that we’re doing organically, I could see a third of the bank coming from U.S. earnings,” White said in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “To get beyond that you’d have to resume the M&A agenda.”

White, who took over as CEO in November, has been looking to accelerate expansion in the U.S., where it’s been acquiring and building branches and corporate banking and wealth management operations since taking over Harris Bank in 1984. The region accounted for 24 percent of earnings in fiscal 2017, before he took over. That contribution grew to 28 percent in the three months through June.

Bank of Montreal’s U.S. lender, BMO Harris Bank, earned C$1.02 billion in the fiscal year’s first three quarters, and is on pace for an annual record.

"We’ll produce well through $1 billion of earnings from our U.S. operations this year, and that’s been a conscious acceleration,” White said. Yet there’s still “work to be done.”

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