What’s a “bee-mo”?

Ever wonder where the name “BMO” comes from? It’s the bank’s stock ticker symbol on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. For decades, “bee-mo” was how investment industry insiders commonly referred to the bank. So it was the natural choice when considering a new name to join the companies and lines of business together – BMO Financial Group.

27 Lombard St., the location of the bank’s London Branch from 1870-1887, circa 1900.

The first Canadian bank to open an international branch

Bank of Montreal was the principal agent for servicing Canada’s rapidly expanding foreign trade. That led to a decision to open an agency in London, England in 1870. The office at 27 Lombard – a street that had been synonymous with finance since the 13th century – was a stone’s throw from the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and the Mansion House.

A bank report set forth the three purposes of the new office: 1) provide for the transfer of the bank’s stock and payment of dividends in England; 2) develop and facilitate the foreign business of the bank, and the British and foreign trade of the Dominion; and 3) provide safe employment for “surplus funds” of the bank.

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A visually rich tribute to Canada’s first bank, A Vision Greater than Themselves: The Making of the Bank of Montreal, 1817-2017 by Laurence B. Mussio tells the compelling story of the bank from its origins to present day.

Visit the McGill Queen’s University Press site
to order your copy.

BMO is a presenting sponsor of the Montréal en Histoires project, celebrating the 375th anniversary of Montreal and BMO’s bicentennial. The sponsorship includes a variety of technology-driven projects and a mobile app.

Visit the Montréal en Histoires site to learn more.


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