Dec 20, 2021 - Economy

BMO Financial to buy Bank of the West for $16 billion

Illustration of someone with puppet strings tied to parts of a bank.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

BMO Financial Group agreed to buy San Francisco-based Bank of the West from BNP Paribas for $16.3 billion.

Why it matters: This is two banking trends in one deal — European banks retreating from the U.S. and Canadian banks increasing their exposure. It also comes amid growing chatter that the FDIC or other U.S. regulators could crack down on big bank mergers.

The bottom line: "European lenders that planted flags in the U.S. starting in the late 1980s have failed to gain much ground. Royal Bank of Scotland Group sold out of Citizens Financial Group in 2015. HSBC said last year it would close one-third of its U.S. branches. BBVA of Spain agreed to sell its U.S. arm roughly a year ago to PNC Financial Services Group for around $11.6 billion in a deal that created the fifth-largest retail bank in the U.S." — Cara Lombardo & Orla McCaffrey, WSJ

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