BMO Harris names Canadian exec to lead U.S. personal, business banking

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BMO Harris Bank in Chicago has plucked an executive from its Canadian parent to head up one of its key business units.

The $109 billion-asset bank appointed Erminia (Ernie) Johannson as group head of U.S. personal and business banking. In addition to leading BMO Harris’ U.S. strategy for personal and business banking, she will also have oversight of North American retail and small- business payments, and the North American fraud team. The position is based in Chicago.

“Ernie's extensive North American banking experience, combined with her diverse knowledge of personal and business banking, will be a tremendous asset to our team,” BMO Harris CEO David Casper said in a Thursday news release.

BMO Harris is the U.S. subsidiary of Toronto-based BMO Financial Group. Expanding operations in the U.S is a top priority of Darryl White, the new CEO of BMO Financial.

Johannson is replacing Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, who was named head of sales and distribution for BMO’s Canadian personal and business banking.

One of Johannson’s tasks will be to oversee the expansion of BMO Harris’ new digital products and services, including People Pay, a peer-to-peer service distributed through BMO’s mobile payments app.

Johannson was previously head of North American retail credit and was chief risk officer of Canadian personal and business banking and wealth management. She has worked at BMO for six years. She is a past chair of the Canadian Marketing Association and is a director of Payments Canada, which operates a clearing and settlement system, and Moneris Solutions Corp., a Toronto-based credit and debit card processor.

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