Chief Executive Officer’s Message

Darryl White

Darryl White
Chief Executive Officer

It starts today

Darryl White
Chief Executive Officer


BMO is on the move. Adapting. Innovating. Working hard to anticipate customers’ expectations and deliver value to shareholders. Always.

Now it’s year 201, and we’re speeding up. Sharpening our focus. Making decisions today that are driven by where our customers want to go next.

We’re moving into 2018 ready for the future and motivated by the strong results of another record year. Adjusted net income rose to $5.5 billion, a year-over-year increase of 10%. Earnings per share grew by 9% to $8.16.

The bank’s revenue increased 6%, driven by sustained growth in customer loans and deposits. Expenses continued to be well managed, rising 4% as we balanced improved efficiency with investing for the future.

Adjusted Net Income 2017 10% increase

2017 Performance

1 Adjusted results are non-GAAP and are discussed in the Non-GAAP Measures (30 KB PDF) section of the MD&A.


Adjusted net operating leverage for the year was 1.9%, in line with our medium-term target of 2% and building on the 2.1% we achieved in 2016. This has yielded an improvement of 240 basis points in our adjusted net efficiency ratio over the past two years. And our strong capital position, with a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 11.4%, gives us differentiated flexibility to continue growing the business.

“In 2017, we increased our spend on technology by 13% – and at the same time we grew earnings, generated positive operating leverage, improved efficiency, raised dividends, bought back shares and grew the bank’s capital.”

Every BMO business has contributed to our growth. Our strategic priorities map out a clear and proven path to value creation. All key metrics point to robust, sustainable performance across the bank. And we continue to build competitive advantage. That starts with listening – very closely – to the people who are best equipped to identify opportunities for growth. Our employees.

Teams in every area of the bank have concrete suggestions for further streamlining processes, simplifying our structure and erasing traditional boundaries. We’re already putting these ideas into action: Reducing complexity. Making it easier to get work done. And directing our energy toward creating even more compelling customer experiences. Because in everything we do, it’s customers who ultimately lead the way.

Thinking like a customer

Our focus is on creating end-to-end customer journeys, from first interaction to long-term loyalty. This requires two building blocks:

The first is technology, and how we seamlessly integrate human and digital interactions to get even closer to our customers. We understand how much people value convenience, speed and simplicity. The freedom that comes with banking on the move, confident that transactions are private and secure. And when customers have questions, they can reach us quickly – in person – through whatever channel they want. Our redesigned IT architecture supports all the ways we connect, today and tomorrow.

A rewarding customer journey also requires understanding – analyzing the information people share with us to better appreciate their goals and challenges. We’re thinking like our customers, guided by insights into what they prefer, and what works best from their perspective. And from there we’re creating more personalized products, services and experiences.

Thinking like a customer is something we do in every area of the bank, everywhere we do business. Whether our customers are pursuing cross-border growth or adapting to shifts in North American and global trade, we understand the kinds of changes they’re managing – because we’ve had to manage them ourselves. And we’re uniquely positioned to support customers in both countries as they adjust. Everyone at BMO, no matter what roles we play, is committed to fulfilling our customer promise: We’re here to help.

Reinvesting for the future

As we continue to pick up speed, we’re reinvesting our productivity gains in service of our customers. That means building new digital, data and analytics capabilities. Making core processes more responsive. Adopting open-source technologies. Shifting applications and processes to the cloud. And generally enhancing our ability to work quickly and effectively, whether with digital augmentation or by fully automating routine tasks.

Through agile innovation and strategic partnerships, we’re constantly switching on new capabilities – from options such as mobile Android Pay™ and a BMO voice service for Amazon Alexa, to digitally enabled investing and mortgage processing, to leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence to protect against credit card abuse.

Across the bank, we’re balancing decisions to improve operating efficiency with those aimed at enabling future growth.

Widening our scope

Our business strategy is organized not by region or product offering, but by customer segment. And we lead all of our businesses – capital markets, wealth management, asset management, and personal and commercial banking – with a continental perspective, while ensuring our presence in the select global markets where our clients need us. This means we can better target our strategic investments across a large base. And it allows us to deliver a superior customer experience, quickly and economically, on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

The effectiveness of our North American strategy is reflected in the continued progress of our U.S. operating businesses, which contributed $1.4 billion to the bottom line in 2017 and have achieved compound annual earnings growth of 13% (on a U.S. dollar basis) over the past two years. They represent the fastest-growing part of the bank and now account for about 25% of total adjusted earnings (see the 2017 Operating Groups Performance Review). We believe that contribution will continue to be a key feature of BMO’s growth strategy.

“The effectiveness of our North American strategy is reflected in the continued progress of our U.S. operating businesses.”

At the same time, as we pursue continued growth across North America and around the globe, we’re strengthening the bridge between strategy and sustainability. BMO’s sustainability principles – focusing on social change, financial resilience, community-building and environmental impact (see our Strategic Framework) – reinforce the broader responsibilities that underpin our strategic priorities. The result is greater value for all stakeholders.

Where we’re focusing:

  1. Customer experience: Deeper insights | More personalization
  2. Accelerating U.S. growth: Proven strengths | Cross-border capabilities
  3. Technology deployment: Continued investment | Digital acceleration
  4. Efficiency improvements: Bank-wide momentum | Focus on simplification
  5. People and culture: Developing new skills | Embracing our shared values

This is a new chapter

We’ve made remarkable progress over the past decade. Everyone at BMO echoes the Chairman in recognizing Bill Downe’s forward-thinking efforts in positioning us for the future. The bank’s current leadership is building on that success. I thank our management team for this exceptional capability, dedication and character. They are remarkable.

As we begin a new chapter, expectations are high. And so is our confidence in BMO’s ability to exceed them.

We have the depth of talent. A diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. And a level of employee engagement that places BMO at the top of our industry, alongside the best companies out there. Our people are also in a class by themselves when it comes to generosity: this year more than 92% of BMO employees once again contributed to charities across North America through our annual Employee Giving Campaign.

We have a strong, collaborative culture – one that’s grounded in the values that guide all of our decisions. This is a great source of strength and resilience, and it cements our stakeholders’ trust. I am so proud to work at a company that has such a committed and talented workforce.

“We have a strong, collaborative culture – one that’s grounded in the values that guide all of our decisions.”

We’re moving ahead on a solidly built foundation, ready to capitalize on every advantage: Our wealth of customer insights. The right investment in technology. The discipline to keep things simple. The power of a brand that makes banking personal and intuitive. And a shared belief that the future starts right now.

“We’re unified in our focus on the customer. And now we’re accelerating.”

At BMO, we’re unified in our focus on the customer. And now we’re accelerating. There’s an unmistakable energy across the bank. It’s the energy of change.


Signature of Darryl White

Darryl White
Chief Executive Officer


OUR VISION

To be the bank that defines great customer experience

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

Achieve industry-leading customer loyalty by delivering on our brand promise

Enhance productivity to drive performance and shareholder value

Accelerate deployment of digital technology to transform our business

Leverage our consolidated North American platform and expand strategically in select global markets to deliver growth

Ensure our strength in risk management underpins everything we do for our customers

SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES

Social Change

Helping people adapt and thrive as society evolves – tailoring our products and services to reflect changing expectations, and embracing diversity and inclusion in our workplace and the communities where we do business.

Financial Resilience

Supporting customers’ needs and goals, while gauging appropriate levels of risk, as they shape their financial futures. And providing members of underserved communities with access to guidance and support that helps them and enables them to do better.

Community-building

Fostering social and economic well-being in the communities where we live and work by financing new enterprises, facilitating public investment, paying our fair share of taxes and, together with our employees, providing support through charitable donations, sponsorships and volunteer activities.

Environmental Impact

Reducing our environmental footprint while considering the impacts of our business activities as we work with stakeholders who share our commitment to sustainability.

A FOUNDATION OF TRUST

Integrity, transparency and sound governance