BMO profit jumps 34%

Bill Downe, president and chief executive officer of BMO Financial Group. REUTERS/Todd Korol

Bill Downe, president and chief executive officer of BMO Financial Group. REUTERS/Todd Korol

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

Bank of Montreal reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly earnings, driven by lower losses for bad loans and its acquisition of Wisconsin lender Marshall & Ilsley last year.

BMO, Canada’s fourth-largest bank and the first to report results for the fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31, said profit rose 34% to $1.1 billion, or $1.63 a share.

That compared with a year-earlier profit of $825 million, or $1.34 a share.

Adjusted profit was $1.42 a share, topping analysts’ average estimate of $1.36, according to Thomson Reuters.

The bank held its quarterly dividend steady at 70 cents per share.

BMO is the only Canadian bank that has not resumed dividend hikes in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, preferring instead to spend its money on the $4.1 billion takeover of M&I.

The acquisition, which closed last July, helped boost profit from BMO’s U.S. retail banking division to $137 million during the first quarter from $54 million a year ago.

BMO chief executive Bill Downe said the integration of M&I’s business was on track.

“While the largest of the platform conversions will not take place until the end of the year, we are pleased with the synergies obtained to date,” he said in a statement.

Profit was also helped by a sharp drop in provisions for credit losses to $141 million from $323 million, as the bank was able to recover loans previously written off.

(Reporting by Cameron French in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace)

 


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