BMO Financial's Ernie Johannson expands role

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BMO Financial Group is expanding the role of one of its high-ranking women executives.

Erminia (Ernie) Johannson has been named group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking at BMO, the Canadian holding company for the $123 billion-asset BMO Harris Bank in Chicago.

Johannson, No. 2 on American Banker's Women to Watch list in 2018, will retain her current responsibilities as group head of U.S. personal and business banking and head of North American retail payments.

Johannson joined Toronto-based BMO Financial in 2012 and has been its chief risk officer and head of North American retail credit. Last year, when she moved into her role as group head of U.S. personal and business banking last year, her marching orders were to keep the business line in expansion mode, improve profitability, and speed up its digital transformation.

“Ernie has an incredible passion for delivering an exceptional customer experience, with an excellent track record of innovating and generating sustainable profit growth in rapidly changing environments,” BMO Financial CEO Darryl White said in a news release Monday. “With her expanded mandate, she will support our ongoing efforts to accelerate growth.”

One of Johannson's priorities was to improve business payments' capabilities in hopes of attracting more small-business customers, she said in a profile published last fall.

"What you do on your phone as a small-business customer should be the exact same thing you do as a retail customer," she said. "They all have to take and make payments, and the process has to be simpler and more seamless."

Johannson will continue to report to Cameron Fowler, president of North American personal and business banking.

In other managerial moves, BMO promoted Mona Malone to the positions of head of people and culture, and chief human resources officer. Malone most recently was deputy head of human resources and chief talent officer. She has been with BMO since 1996.

Malone is succeeding Richard Rudderham as chief human resources officer, who has been named to the newly created position of head of business technology integration.

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