Invalid ZIP Code


The ZIP code entered " " is not recognized.
Please enter a valid ZIP code.



News Releases

Harris Bank Announces Intent to Purchase New Lenox State Bank

Harris Bank Announces Intent to Purchase New Lenox State Bank
Acquisition Increases Harris Community Banking Network In One of the Fastest Growing Regions in the United States

Chicago, IL - February 4, 2004 – Harris Bank and BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO) announced today the signing of an agreement for Harris to acquire New Lenox State Bank (NLSB).

Founded in 1927, NLSB is a well-respected community bank with eight full-service branches. Headquartered in New Lenox, Illinois, NLSB will significantly expand Harris’ distribution network in southwest suburban Will County, one of the fastest growing regions in the United States.

NLSB is privately held with $998 million in assets and $899 million in deposits as of December 31, 2003. The purchase price is $228.5 million. Excluding one-time costs, the impact of the transaction on BMO cash earnings per share is nominally accretive in year one.

NLSB is a fixture in the communities it serves and it has maintained market share and growth in a competitive environment despite many new entrants,” said Frank Techar, President and CEO, Harris Bank. “NLSB significantly expands our presence in markets we know well, and solidifies Harris’ number one market share position in rapidly growing Will County.”

Added Everett J. Hauck, President of New Lenox Holding Company, NLSB’s parent firm, “We are proud to be joining such an outstanding organization. Harris has a loyal client base throughout Chicagoland and our shared vision is a strong focus on community banking, local knowledge and customer service.”

The deal is expected to close in the summer of 2004, subject to regulatory approval. It will increase Harris Bank’s Chicagoland network to 163 locations, which includes Harris’ pending acquisition of Lakeland Community Bank, and over 450 ATMs. With additional new branches planned for this year, Harris is on track to reach 200 locations throughout Chicagoland over the next few years.

With $30 billion in assets, Harris Bank is one of the largest community bank networks in Illinois, a nationally recognized provider of private client and personal trust services and a premier Midwest mid-market corporate bank. Harris is a member of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services institution headquartered in Toronto, Canada. NLSB represents the 13th acquisition by BMO Financial Group in the U.S. since 1999.

Investor Conference Call:
Senior BMO executives will comment on the acquisition during a conference call scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EST, Wednesday, February 4, 2004. The call may be accessed by telephone at 416-695-9753 (from within Toronto) or 1-888-789-0089 (toll-free outside Toronto). A replay of the conference call can be accessed until Wednesday, February 18, 2004 by calling 416-695-9862, or toll free at 1-888-330-1960, and entering passcode 8694. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed at . A replay of the webcast can be accessed until May 3, 2004.

This press release includes forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, comments with respect to our objectives, targets, strategies, financial condition, the results of our operations and our business, our outlook for our businesses and for the Canadian and U.S. economies, and risk management.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, bo th general and specific, and the risk that predictions and other forward-looking statements will not prove to be accurate. We caution readers of this report not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause actual future results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, targets, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements.

The future outcomes that relate to forward-looking statements may be influenced by the following factors: fluctuations in interest rates and currency values; regulatory developments; statutory changes; the effects of competition in the geographic and business areas in which we operate, including continued pricing pressure on loan and deposit products; and changes in political and economic conditions including, among other things, inflation and technological changes. We caution that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that when relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to BMO Financial Group, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors as well as other uncertainties and political events. The Bank does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Bank.

For further information:

Media Relations
Paul Gammal, Harris Bank, (312) 461-6625
Jennifer Dillon, Harris Bank, (312) 461-6970
William Laughridge, NLSB, (815) 485-7500

Investor Relations
Susan Payne, Toronto, (416) 867-6656