BMO’s tech merged with Bank of the West for innovation.

February 26, 2024


BMO Financial Group spent 83 hours integrating Bank of the West data into its systems over Labor Day weekend in 2023. The preparation for the integration began 13 months prior to regulatory approval, with BMO doubling its mainframe capacity and preparing a cloud framework in anticipation. The smooth transition, involving more than 25,000 tasks and 3,000 employees, resulted in BMO nearly doubling its U.S. retail presence.

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BMO Financial Group successfully merged its technology with Bank of the West, spending 83 hours over Labor Day weekend in 2023 to integrate Bank of the West data into its systems. The preparation for this integration began 13 months prior to regulatory approval, during which BMO was not allowed to have any discussions about data due to competition restrictions.

Once regulators approved the deal, BMO had to quickly solve technological challenges, from deciding which systems to keep to mitigating problems on conversion day. The bank completed more than 25,000 tasks to integrate Bank of the West data, converting customer files and almost doubling its U.S. retail presence with 500 additional branches and 1.8 million more customers.

Leaders at BMO reported that the transition went smoothly, with Scotiabank Managing Director of Equity Research for Canadian financial services noting that any issues would have been heard about. This successful integration was a result of careful planning and preparation, including conducting four mock conversions and one dress rehearsal between March and August 2023.

During this process, BMO utilized chaos engineering to test the resilience of its systems and ensure that they could handle the increased workload post-conversion. The bank also worked on doubling its mainframe capacity and creating a cloud framework through Amazon Web Services to facilitate the data transfer.

By limiting the use of outside consultants and relying on internal expertise, BMO was able to bring together employees from both institutions for a collaborative effort. The bank’s successful integration was praised by BNP Paribas, the former owner of Bank of the West, indicating the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

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