BMO Harris hires two execs away from rival Fifth Third

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BMO Harris Bank has hired two new vice chairs to help build out its commercial banking division.

The Bank of Montreal’s U.S. subsidiary based in Chicago, with $126.2 billion of assets, said Tuesday that it has brought on Eric Smith and Michael Morton from Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati.

Smith had joined the $170 billion-asset Fifth Third as regional market president in Chicago in 2016. He was moved to chief operating officer of the region last year after the bank expanded its presence there with its acquisition of Chicago-based MB Financial.

Morton had been executive vice president and chief credit officer at MB Financial, where he supervised asset quality. He will lead BMO Harris’s expansion into markets where the bank has no retail presence but intends to offer commercial loans.

"Commercial banking is a core strength at BMO, and we continue to execute on our strategy as we grow our business nation-wide," David Casper, U.S. chief executive at BMO Harris, said in a news release. "By hiring Eric Smith and Michael Morton, we're adding exceptional, experienced bankers with intimate knowledge of our markets. I'm very pleased that they will be part of our leadership team."

Smith and Morton join dozens former MB Financial employees who moved to BMO Harris after Fifth Third’s 2019 acquisition of MB, according to Crain's Chicago Business. Both will report to Casper.

BMO Harris has the No. 2 deposit share in the Chicago market, trailing only JPMorgan Chase, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

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