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Opinion
Paul J. Davies

BNP’s Sale of BancWest Makes Sense for Both Sides

Bank of Montreal expands its U.S. footprint, and the French lender walks away with billions to spend closer to home.

Los Angeles, one of BancWest’s biggest contributions to BMO

Los Angeles, one of BancWest’s biggest contributions to BMO

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

Banking in the Western world has a problem: Traditional lending just doesn’t pay anymore. Even with interest rates set to start rising in the U.S. and Europe in the next couple of years, prospects for old-school banking don’t look to get much better.

That’s why BNP Paribas SA’s sale of U.S. lender Bank of the West to Canada’s Bank of Montreal makes sense for both sides. The French bank still has more work to do to become more attractive to investors, however.