Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Montreal Weighs Listing on the Big Board

Magazine article American Banker

Bank of Montreal Weighs Listing on the Big Board

Article excerpt

Bank of Montreal Weighs Listing on the Big Board

Bank of Montreal is mulling whether to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange as a first step toward acquiring a large bank in the Midwest, the Canadian bank's chairman said.

Matthew W. Barrett, Bank of Montreal's chairman and chief executive, told the New York Society of Security Analysts last Thursday that the bank plans to decide about a listing before yearend.

A Big Board listing would clear the major obstacle to expansion by a Canadian bank in the United States, possibly kicking off a new wave of cross-border acquisitions.

Two likely candidates to follow suit are Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Chairmen of both banks have repeatedly stated that they hope to carry out large expansions in the United States.

A listing by the Bank of Montreal is tied to an expansion strategy that calls for boosting U.S. earnings to 50% of the total from 30% currently.

Although Mr. Barrett expects to generate half of the growth internally, he said his bank "will almost certainly need to make a significant acquisition in the United States over the next few years."

"We're not looking for bargains, and we're not looking for failed thrifts," Mr. Barrett said. "What we want is a large, well-run organization in the Midwest."

A spokesman declined to name any banks that might fall within Bank of Montreal's parameters, but conceded that midwestern banks with assets in the $10 billion to $15 billion range are the likeliest targets.

Eye on Big Investors

In addition to expediting expansion, a U. …

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