Bank of Montreal, parent company of Chicago-based Harris Bankcorp, has opened a subsidiary bank in Dublin.

The $123 billion-asset institution is the latest North American banking company to open or expand operations in Dublin's low-tax financial center. Citicorp, Bankers Trust New York Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., and Bank of New York Co. have all opened or expanded offices in Dublin in recent years.

Bank of Montreal Ireland PLC will employ about 15 people and will handle treasury services, corporate banking, and asset management.

William Bonnell, general manager of the Irish banking unit, said it would mainly serve North American and European corporate customers. It is to specialize in sectors such as natural resources, communications, transportation, and financial institutions, he said.

Bank of Montreal, badly battered by problem loans to developing countries in the 1980s, retreated to North America and subsequently focused on expanding in the United States via Harris.

The company recently began, however, to develop international operations again, opening two branches in China and acquiring an equity stake in Grupo Financiero Bancomer, Mexico's second-biggest banking group, in order to serve corporate and middle-market Canadian and U.S. customers.

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