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Harris Nesbitt Hires Erik van Nispen to Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group

Harris Nesbitt Hires Erik van Nispen to Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group

NEW YORK, February 17, 2005 – Harris Nesbitt, the U.S. investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial Group (NYSE: BMO), announced today it has hired industry veteran Erik van Nispen to focus on serving clients in the financial services sector.

Mr. van Nispen, a 19-year investment banker, becomes Managing Director, F inancial Institutions, Harris Nesbitt. Based in New York, he will be responsible for establishing and adding to the firm's financial services investment banking business.

"The financial services sector is an important area of focus for Harris Nesbitt as we continue to serve the needs of a growing base of middle market clients," said Dominic Petito, Deputy Head of U.S. Client Coverage, Harris Nesbitt. "We have a particular strength in serving the middle market and Erik's significant industry experience will be invaluable for our clients who are looking to benefit from strategic advice."

Harris Nesbitt has a longstanding history of serving the financial services sector through its Canadian parent BMO Financial Group. The firm also operates a substantial lending business to U.S. middle market clients in the financial services sector. "Our focus is to leverage from our existing expertise by now offering advisory and investment banking services to financial institutions," said Mr. Petito.

Mr. Petito added that Harris Nesbitt will continue to grow its Financial Institutions Group. Over the last year, Harris Nesbitt has embarked on a broad expansion strategy, hiring key individuals to other areas of its investment banking business. Recent senior appointments announced by the firm include Jim Love (Healthcare), Jeff Hamilton (Energy & Power), Geoff Belsher (M&A), Robert Barnett and Steven Steinberg (Commercial & Industrial) and Carlos Conde (Equity Capital Markets).

Mr. van Nispen joins Harris Nesbitt from Milestone Merchant Partners, where he served as a Managing Director. Previously, he was the Head of the North American Financial Institutions Group for ABN AMRO Inc. where he specialized in advising banks, specialty finance and insurance companies. Prior to that, Mr. van Nispen served as Managing Director at Sandler O'Neill & Partners and Ryan, Beck & Co. He also spent almost a decade at Merrill Lynch & Co. where he was responsible for new business origination and transaction execution for financial institutions in the middle Atlantic and Midwest regions. Mr. van Nispen earned a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University and an MBA from Duke University Graduate School of Business.

About Harris Nesbitt

Harris Nesbitt is an investment and corporate bank offering clients access to a full range of products and services including investment and corporate banking, treasury services, market risk management, institutional investing and research. Harris Nesbitt is part of Harris, an integrated financial services organization providing more than 1.5 million personal, business, corporate and institutional clients with banking, lending, investing and financial management solutions. Harris Nesbitt is a member of BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO). For more information, please visit