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BMO CEO: Our Success Depends Entirely on our Customers' Success

Historic Performance Driven by Double-digit Revenue and Double-digit Earnings Growth Across Operating Groups

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 20, 2012) -

Editors Note: There are two photos associated with this press release.

Addressing the 194th Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Bank of Montreal - after a record year with net income up 16 per cent to $3.3 billion - BMO CEO Bill Downe stated there can be no compromise when it comes to the importance of customers.

"Taking good care of customers and acting in the long-term interests of our shareholders represent a single commitment for BMO," said Mr. Downe. "Our preoccupation with customers' success - and with understanding what they need, so they can feel confident about their finances - has established BMO as a leader."

Citing BMO's decision to emphasize mortgages with a maximum amortization of 25 years as an example, Mr. Downe said, "We're encouraging existing and prospective customers to make better financial decisions - and we're forming the foundation for new and expanded long-term relationships."

Noting that banks are vital intermediaries in the creation of jobs and economic prosperity, Mr. Downe said, "when we committed to providing $15 billion in new loans to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada and the U.S. over the next three years, the decision was grounded in our ability to understand and anticipate customers' needs."

Mr. Downe noted that the acquisition of Marshall and Ilsley, the largest acquisition in BMO's history, doubled BMO's U.S. presence.

"We have a strong, diversified and growing revenue opportunity and a valuable foundation for future growth," said Mr. Downe. "Every day our bankers are in the community - having conversations and winning business. They are contributing to the economic recovery that we are beginning to see in the U.S., and helping to fuel the economic engine of the nation, the Midwest.

"Our record earnings provide tangible evidence that the course we've charted for BMO is the right one," concluded Mr. Downe. "Creating shareholder value and acting in our customers' interests are two sides of the same coin."

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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For further information:
Media Contacts:
Paul Deegan, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Ralph Marranca, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Ronald Monet, Montreal
(514) 877-1873

Jim Kappel, Chicago
(312) 461-2478
Twitter: @BMOmedia