Bank of Montreal started with nine investors

On Nov. 3, 1817, the Bank of Montreal, the oldest continuously operating bank in North America, opened its first branch.

Chartered on June 23, of that year, the bank opened agencies in London and New York, in 1818, as well as offices in Quebec City, and the Upper Canada communities of Kingston, York, Queenston, and Amherstburg. At that time it operated under the name Montreal Bank, and was the first bank to offer full banking services.

In 1820 it was incorporated under the name Bank of Montreal. Founded by a group of nine merchants, the start-up capital of £250,000 (nominally $500,000) was raised by the sale of stock, almost half of which was bought up by United States investors.

The bank’s initial note issue consisted of $5, $10, $20, and $50 values.

By 1859 the Bank of Montreal was the largest financial institution in Canada with permanent branches in New York, Chicago.

Today the bank now manages assets of more than $300 billion.

An early picture of the Bank of Montreal by famed Canadian photographer William Notman.

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