Bank of Montreal CEO fights skeptics who see business loan woes

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Bank of Montreal’s top executive says it’s a “myth” that his company’s commercial lending business is taking big risks and argues the bank will come through the recession with fewer loan losses than rivals.”I’ve got skeptics against me out there right now that there’s going to be a shoe to drop in our commercial bank because of loan impairments that will be higher in a Covid recession than they might be in other recessions,” Chief Executive Darryl White told Bloomberg in an interview. “I’m happy to take them on because I predict that we will continue in this environment to have lower loan losses than our peers.”

Darryl White, chief executive of Bank of Montreal.Bloomberg News

Bank of Montreal’s emphasis on commercial lending has helped the Toronto-based firm increase earnings in recent years while expanding in the U.S., where the company owns Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank and has an investment banking presence. About 57% of its loans were to businesses and governments in the fiscal third quarter, higher than the 41% average for Canada’s six biggest lenders, according to the banks’ financial disclosures.Yet with this year’s virus-fueled recession and a poor showing in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s …

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