by Matthew R. Lee
Bank of Montreal will be applying to buy Marshall & Ilsley (M&I), the largest bank in Wisconsin, with 374 branches also in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Kansas and Minnesota. One predictor of how Bank of Montreal would perform is what its Harris Bank has done. Inquiry has begun, and now some outreach.
It has been raised to OSFI in Canada that, as simply one example, in its Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area headquarters, Bank of Montreal's Harris Bank in 2009, the most recent year for which Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data is available, denied the conventional home purchase loan applications of Latinos 2.52 times more frequently than those of whites.
The shareholders who've already come out against the deal are arguing not only that Bank of Montreal should be paying more, but also that there would be layoffs and branch closings.
One wonders at what stage Bank of Montreal may try to find buyers for the branches in Kansas or Arizona or the branch listed on M&I's website in Las Vegas. Let the games begin.