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Harris Announces Intent to Purchase Mercantile Bancorp

Harris Announces Intent to Purchase Mercantile Bancorp
Acquisition Expands Harris Community Banking Network into Northwest Indiana Region

CHICAGO, October 13, 2004 – Harris Bank and its parent, BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO), today announced a definitive agreement to purchase Hammond, Ind.-based Mercantile Bancorp Inc.

Additionally, Harris intends to purchase the stock of Lake Commercial Corp., an entity established to develop potential branch properties for Mercantile Bank.

Mercantile Bank is a privately held community bank network with 19 branch locations, nine stand-alone ATMs and three support centers in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana. The purchase price totals US$156.5 million (CDN$197.4 million) for both transactions and the impact on BMO cash earnings per share is neutral in year one and accretive thereafter, excluding one-time costs.

"Mercantile Bank provides Harris with an excellent opportunity to extend our community banking reach into Northwest Indiana, a growing area that is a natural fit with our existing branch network," said Frank Techar, President and CEO, Harris Bank. "Harris also will provide the large number of commuters between Chicago and Lake and Porter counties with a convenient banking option in both their home and business communities in addition to the Speedway ATM locations we already have in those communities."

The transactions are expected to close in December, subject to receipt of U.S. and Canadian regulatory approval. Upon close, the proposed acquisition would be the first extension of the Harris community banking network beyond the traditional Chicago-area marketplace.

"We're really pleased to be partnering with Harris, and we see this relationship as a very good fit. While we didn't enter into this decision lightly, we're confident that, given our shared commitment to employees, exceptional customer service and community involvement, our customers are in good hands," said Chris Morrow, Chairman, Mercantile Bank.

Harris Bank is one of the largest community banking networks in Illinois and is part of Harris, an integrated financial service organization that provides more than 1.5 million personal, business, corporate and institutional clients with banking, lending, investing, financial planning, trust administration, portfolio management, family office and wealth transfer services. For more information, please visit .

Media Relations:
Amy Yuhn, Chicago,, (312) 461-2478
Ralph Marranca, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996

Investor Relations:
Susan Payne, Toronto,, (416) 867-6656
Steven Bonin, Toronto,, (416) 867-5452
Amanda Mason, Toronto,, (416) 867-3562

Harris is a trademark used by various financial service providers in the BM O Financial Group, a marketing name used by Bank of Montreal. Banking products and services are provided by Harris N.A. and The Harris Bank N.A. Members FDIC. Insurance and annuities are offered through Harris Bancorp Insurance Services, Inc (HBIS). Securities are provided by Harris Nesbitt Corp (HNC), a registered broker dealer, member NYSE, FINRA and SIPC and Harrisdirect LLC, a registered broker dealer, member FINRA and SIPC. HBIS, HNC and Harrisdirect are wholly owned subsidiaries of Harris Financial Corp. Products offered by HBIS, HNC and Harrisdirectare Not Insured by the FDIC or any Federal Government Agency, Not a Deposit of or Guaranteed by Any Bank or Bank Affiliate, May Lose Value. The purchase of insurance or an annuity is not a condition on any bank loan or service. Financial planning and investment advisory services are provided by Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, Inc., an SEC registered investment advisor. Family office services are provided by Harris myCFO, Inc. Investment advisory services are also offered by Harris myCFO Investment Advisory Services LLC, an SEC registered investment advisor and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harris myCFO, Inc. Not all products and services are offered in every state and/or location.