BMO’s Downe Says Opportunity for Large U.S. Bank Takeovers Low

Bank of Montreal Chief Executive Officer William Downe says it’s not worth the effort to pursue large U.S. bank takeovers in the current political climate.

“The opportunity to do a large acquisition in the U.S. in the political environment is very low,” Downe said today during the RBC Capital Markets Canadian bank CEO conference in Toronto. “I don’t think it would really justify the energy it would take to seek an approval.”

Bank of Montreal will pursue a “significant number” of “tuck-in” acquisitions and internal expansion in the U.S. Midwest for its Chicago-based consumer bank, building on its C$4.1 billion ($4.15 billion) takeover of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., Downe said. The July 2011 acquisition, the largest for Bank of Montreal, doubled the Toronto-based lender’s U.S. deposits and branches.

Downe also said he’d look for opportunities to pursue wealth-management acquisitions “that would be complementary over time.”

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