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Bank of Montreal (BMO) CEO Bill Downe was decidedly upbeat about his company’s fourth-quarter performance during a Dec. 2 financial results conference call. That performance was predicated on a “well-executed customer-focused strategy and momentum we’ve demonstrated over a number of consecutive quarters. We’ve clearly strengthened our position in the market and become more competitive.”
BMO’s fourth-quarter results concluded the year in which the bank delivered $4.5 billion in net income, with earnings per share up 6% from last year
Despite the fourth quarter being the slowest quarter in 2014 for capital markets, the business generated over $1 billion in earnings for the year with strong returns and good progress on its U.S. strategy.
“Investments we’ve made cumulatively in our businesses since 2009 contributed in a significant way to this year’s results and are having a compounding effect that’s evident in our growth,” Downe said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “Over the period, we’ve nearly doubled annual earnings and increased book value per share from approximately $32 to $48. This performance reflects a deliberate and consistent strategy grounded and moving ahead of our customers’ expectations.”
BMO completed the integration of its expanded U.S. platform in 2012.
“We’ve shifted from a heavy emphasis on conversion to ramping up how we go to market, to increase product categories per customer and bring new customers to BMO,” Downe explained. “We’ve recently refreshed and expanded brand support across our entire North American footprint. This investment is designed to build and maintain industry-leading customer loyalty over time to continue to increase market share and drive revenue growth as a consequence.”
In personal banking, BMO is expanding its customer relationships to increase products per customer.
“And we are building an integrated and seamless customer experience by accelerating our digital and physical channel capabilities,” Downe said. “Mobile transactions continue to grow, roughly doubling from last year. In commercial banking, we continue to enhance sales force productivity and our targeting growth opportunities by region, segment and industry. Our large scale commercial banking business continues to build on its strength, focusing on new client acquisition, increasing share, and extending our corporate payments reach. And we continue to improve our product and channel capabilities to make our banking experience more responsive and intuitive. We enhanced our mobile banking platform this year, enabling customers to book appointments in the branch from their mobile device. And mobile users grew by 18% while mobile banking deposits were up 60%.”
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