Skip navigation
Navigation skipped

News Releases

Discipline and Focus: BMO Financial Group Chairman and CEO Outlines Priorities and Objectives for 2003  


BMO Financial Group will improve operational efficiency, Chairman and CEO Tony Comper said today in a speech to Merrill Lynch Canada’s Canadian Banks’ CEO Conference 2003.

“BMO’s relative performance is climbing. We have gained considerable traction as a Canada-based transnational bank, and we have done so during a very difficult time for our industry,” said Comper. “As we direct intensified efforts toward our top priority of 2003, which is to substantially improve operational efficiency, we are right where we want to be: poised for aggressive growth in the North American economic space when a market turnaround takes hold.”

Comper also stated that BMO Financial Group would continue its successful strategy of investing in its core Canadian franchise and building on its selective and substantial expansion in the United States.

“We believe we are pulling all the right levers to achieve, at a minimum, the realistic financial targets for 2003 that we set at the end of November. I want to affirm for you that we will continue steering our steady course,” he said. “The progress we have made so far – and, I am certain, will continue to make in the years ahead – results from the fundamental management style of this leadership team, encapsulated in the three defining BMO characteristics: prudence in deploying our resources, discipline in building on our strengths, and focus in executing our transnational strategy.”

Comper’s speech highlighted BMO’s continued momentum in its banking operations in both Canada and the United States, the organization’s longstanding strength in credit risk management, its strong dividend track record, its disciplined approach to expense management, BMO’s internationally renowned approach to corporate governance, and its industry-leading performance-based compensation initiatives.

BMO Financial Group, with more than CDN$75 billion in average U.S. assets, has the highest asset base of any Canadian financial institution in the U.S.  The organization serves more than 1.5 million customers in the U.S., in addition to its more than 6 million Canadian customers.

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO) is a highly diversified financial services organization. With average assets of CDN$254 billion as at October 31, 2002 and more than 33,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. BMO Financial Group serves clients across Canada and in the United States through its Canadian retail arm BMO Bank of Montreal, Chicago-based Harris Bank, a major U.S. mid-west financial services organization which also has wealth management offices across the United States, and BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of Canada's leading full-service investment firms.

A full transcript of Comper’s speech may be found at



This press release includes forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, comments with respect to our objectives, targets, strategies, financial condition, the results of our operations and our businesses, our outlook for our businesses and for the Canadian and U.S. economies, and risk management.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and the risk that predictions and other forward-looking statements will not prove to be accurate.  We caution readers of this report not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause actual future results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, targets, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements.

The future outcomes that relate to forward-looking statements may be influenced by the following factors: fluctuations in interest rates and currency values; regulatory developments; statutory changes; the effects of competition in the geographic and business areas in which we operate, including continued pricing pressure on loan and deposit products; and changes in political and economic conditions including, among other things, inflation and technological changes.  We caution that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that when relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Bank of Montreal, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors as well as other uncertainties and potential events.  The Bank does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Bank.