Bank of Montreal
Changes to the BANK ACT in the 1990s allowed banks to expand their business beyond traditional banking services into securities, insurance and other financial products.
Bank of MontrealThe Bank of Montreal, with head offices in Montréal, is Canada's oldest chartered bank. Founded in 1817, the Bank of Montreal participated in many of the developments spurring the growth of Canada: the first CANALS, the TELEGRAPH, the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY, major hydroelectric projects and the development of Canada's ENERGY and MINING industries. It was the banker in Canada for the Canadian government from 1863 until the founding of the BANK OF CANADA in 1935. It was also the first Canadian bank to establish representation outside the country, with correspondent agencies started in London and New York in 1818. In 1893 it was named the Canadian government fiscal agent in Britain, a function it still performs. Between 1903 and 1962 the Bank of Montreal purchased the assets and business of smaller banks, mainly in Atlantic Canada.
Changes to the BANK ACT in the 1990s allowed banks to expand their business beyond traditional banking services into securities, insurance and other financial products. The Bank of Montreal was aggressive in this arena, purchasing 2 large securities firms, Nesbitt Thomson and Burns Fry, and merging them into Nesbitt Burns, Canada's largest securities firm. It has also entered the banking market in the US, purchasing 2 Chicago-area banks. In 1995, relaxed foreign ownership rules led the Bank of Montreal to become the first Canadian bank to obtain a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The bank has moved into electronic banking, with the establishment of a virtual subsidiary, Mbanx, that provides retail banking services to consumers electronically, by phone and over the Internet.
Today, the bank has over 1300 branches in Canada and overseas, and it offers corporate, government, merchant and personal banking services with a variety of commercial and international services. Canada's second largest financial institution, the bank reported $367 billion in total assets in 2007.