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News Update


“Memories of MECH Days” by John Myers, Chicago, Illinois

June 1, 2020

John Myers, Chicago, Illinois sent us a story about some of his experiences when Bank of Montreal implemented branch Mechanization (MECH) across the bank.  This journey started in the late 1960's and early 1970's in the bank. John's story not only gives us a glimpse into the financial and technical side of branch conversions but also touches on the human side and how change impacts people. Click "Memories of MECH Days" to read the story.

(There is another story in our Archives about MECH which provides additional background information on this historical decision the bank took during the above period which revolutionized banking. Click "Memories of BMO Branch Mechanization - The Beginning", dated November, 2011 to read the story in our Archives.

If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you." 

“Material and images are the property of BMO Financial Group's Corporate Archives. No part of the material or photographs may be reproduced, copied, modified, or adapted, without the prior written consent of the Corporate Archives."


Letter to the Editor - “Thank You” from the O’Neill Family

May 29, 2020

We pleased to share the following letter we received from the O’Neill family. They wanted to let us know that they appreciate the tribute to Jim prepared by Lloyd Varner.  Lloyd had worked with Jim in the bank and became a friend and colleague throughout the years. Lloyd’s "Letter to the Editor - "Memories of Jim O’Neill”, dated April 17, 2020 could only be told by someone who knew Jim well. Lloyd’s story described a picture of Jim when he first joined the bank and he thought perhaps the O’Neill family might not know this detail from Jim’s past and asked us to send it to them.  Jim had many friends and colleagues in the bank and he will be missed by all.

“Thank you for sending our family the link to the tribute. Please feel free to share the following comments:

It was nice to see the tribute to our dad ("Jim" O'Neill) submitted by Lloyd Varner on April 17, 2020. It is interesting to hear events that happened back when dad first started and after reading the article, you just know that is something he would do. After retirement from the bank, our dad still managed to maintain his youthful outlook on things. Dad believed in the people working with BMO and he expressed great pride in his involvement with the Cyber Pensioners. He also always enjoyed attending the pensioners' luncheons and socializing with fellow members. Our thanks to all who sent their condolences and sympathies for our loss.”


The O'Neill family


Letter to the Editor - “Stolen Cash Bag”

May 27, 2020

We received the following letter from Marg Renaud, Kingsville, Ontario and are pleased to share it with you. Marg is referring to the, Letter to the Editor - “Unguarded Cash”, dated May 26, 2020 which was written by Dave Towers.

“I read this story with amusement and was reminded of one of my favourite stories to tell.

This took place in 1973/74 at Walker and Ottawa Street branch in Windsor, Ontario. This particular day the clearing didn't balance and by the time we finally did get it balanced, we had missed the pick up that would take it to the airport. But it had to get there so the resident trainee got the job of delivering the clearing to the airport. We got it packed up in the usual way, in a canvas cash bag, tied off and sealed with a cash bag tie and off it went with the trainee. However, not 10 minutes later, he was back, red faced and stuttering.... He had made a quick stop at the variety store around the corner, leaving the clearing on the front passenger seat. When he returned to the car, the bag was gone.

Needless to say, the Administration Manager went through the roof and assigned the trainee with the almost impossible job of tracing and getting replacements for every cheque that had been in that bag. It was a pretty grim place to be that afternoon and the next day until we got a call from the local police. Apparently, the "thief of opportunity", upon realizing the canvas bag contained only worthless (in his eyes) cheques and not cash, dumped the whole bag into a mailbox. The trainee happily took on the job of ticking back every cheque to make sure all were accounted for.

Not long after, the trainee was transferred out and subsequently left the bank.

It's nice to be able to read and share stories from the "old days" with those who actually understand what we're talking about. 😊. Thanks for creating the forum for these memories.”

Marg Renaud

If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.


Your Morning Laugh - “Unguarded Cash” - by Dave Towers, Regina, SK

May 26, 2020

Years later, I was friends with a fellow who had joined the bank for a few years in the mid-60s. He was at Punnichy, Saskatchean. He said the cash parcels came in on the train. He said two people would go to the train station (one carrying the pistol) to get the cash parcel. Upon arriving they would ask the station agent if a cash parcel had come in. The agent usually said, "Go check the platform. I haven't been there yet.” And sure enough the cash parcel would be laying there with no one around.

If there were no passengers to pick up, the train slowed enough to toss off the mail bags, and the conductor snagged the outgoing mail with a hook that looked like a shepherd’s hook, and the train rolled through.

Dave Towers, retired 2010

P.S. In case you were wondering, it wasn't me picking up the cash parcels in that manner.

If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.


Letter to the Editor - re: "How I Became the First BMO Employee at Harris Bank"

May 24, 2020

We received the following letter from Ken Summers regarding the story, “How I Became the First BMO Employee at Harris Bank” written by John Myers and are happy to share it with you.  Don’t forget if you have a story of your own, please send it to us.  We always enjoy hearing from our members.

“I found John’s article most interesting. Obviously, the former, Bill Mulholland, who was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Montreal from 1979 to 1989 and crew knew what they were doing. A related memory I have is that at the time, I was Vice-President, Commercial Banking, located in Kitchener, Ontario. We had a number of very influential clients in our area and I arranged to have some of them join me for a round of golf at the renowned Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener. I also had invited William “Bill” Bradford, President and Chief Operating Officer of BMO to join us. Bill was well-known for his love of golf and his expertise at the game. It was a lovely day, and as we were playing the 5th hole, a messenger came out from the club house and said there was a very urgent telephone call for the President. (You will remember, we had no cell phones in those days!) Bill, got on a cart, rode back to the club house and after a very short period rejoined our group.  He was beaming as he announced to all of us that, “Bank of Montreal had just acquired Harris Bank”. That was my small role in this odyssey.”

Ken Summers, Kitchener, ON

“If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you."  


"How I Became the First BMO Employee at Harris Bank" by John Myers, Chicago, Illinois

May 22, 2020

John Myers who lives in Chicago, Illinois has sent us a story about how he was the first BMO employee in Harris Bank and what transpired to get there. John's story is very interesting as it took place during the merger between BMO and Harris Bank. If you have a story about this significant period in the bank, we would love to hear from you. 


If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.



Lower Mainland Bulletin - May 2020

May 17, 2020

The latest Bulletin is now available.

Go to the Association Newsletters webpage to read the latest issue. 

Thanks to Earl Hansford for sharing.






“Transporting Branch Cash” by Dave Towers, Regina, Saskatchewan

May 16, 2020

Dave Towers from Regina, Saskatchewan has sent us a story about his early days in the branch that he trained at in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan which is a small town in Southern Saskatchewan near Moose Jaw. Dave read one of our stories about "Protect the Bank's Money" dated April 17, 2020, by John Helms, which made him think of his trainee days in the bank. 


If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.



"My Banking Career Over 3 Continents" by Richard Lancing

May 12, 2020

"Richard Lancing who lives in Pointe Claire, Quebec has written a story about his interesting career in banking which spanned over three continents.  This is coincidental as we have been publishing an ongoing story, through instalments, about the Bank of Montreal's International branches, offices and subsidiaries. Richard's international banking experience brought him to Canada to work for Bank of Montreal. We hope you enjoy his story. Click to read."  CLICK HERE

If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.  




“Times Have Changed” by Lloyd Varner

May 4, 2020

Lloyd Varner, Sackville, New Brunswick has sent us a very interesting story about his branch banking experience when he joined the bank in 1948. Times have sure changed over the years. It is an honour to have members like Lloyd who generously share their memories with us of banking in the old days.  Without these stories to help us understand the evolution of banking, we would be missing many rich tales. To read, "Times Have Changed", CLICK HERE

Thank you to our friends in BMO Corporate Archives who have provided a few photos of branch banking in the 1940's. 

Material and images are the property of BMO Financial Group's Corporate Archives. No part of the material or photographs may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the Corporate Archives. If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.  


Letter to the Editor - "Staying Connected"

April 24, 2020

Recently Debbie MacNeil, from Waverley, Nova Scotia, sent us this letter which we are happy to share with you. We support Debbie’s suggestion about keeping in touch especially at this time with the COVID-19 crisis. Keep Safe and Healthy.

“Due to COVID-19 our monthly breakfasts are on hold and I had been thinking about my BMO friends and wondering how everyone was doing. Two Sundays ago our daughter came by, stood 25 feet away, and our granddaughters held up signs saying “We Love You and We Miss You”. A very emotional moment for Frank and I.

I decided I “needed” to reach out to everyone on my BMO retiree list. So glad I did. I did not keep count, however, more than half “replied to all”. It was wonderful to hear that everyone is doing the best they can in these difficult times. That everyone is feeling the same emotions. That happy news could be shared, such as a last chemo treatment or birth of a grandchild.

I know there are many retiree groups across the country that get together, outside of their annual regional Pensioners Luncheons. Perhaps the various “keepers of the email lists” might want to consider reaching out to their local BMO retiree friends. I am sure everyone would appreciate a ‘Wellness Check-In.’ The “reply to all” function resulted in such a positive experience for a lot of people here. I realize there were probably some who did not appreciate all the emails but the majority did.

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, Stay the Blazes Home.”

Debbie MacNeil, Waverley, Nova Scotia


BMO Retirements and Obituaries

April 23, 2020


The most recent BMO Notices for Retirements and Obituaries are now available and can be accessed from the BMO Publications section on the Home Page.



Letter to the Editor – “Memories of Jim O’Neill”

April 17, 2020

We recently received the following letter from Lloyd Varner, Sackville, NB, sharing his memories of Jim O’Neill.

“Another very old and dear friend has passed on. I have many cherished memories of Jim, he was unique and exceptional, as shown in the following anecdote.

Junior Officer-In-Training at New Glasgow, Nova Scotia branch was probably Jim's first posting with Bank of Montreal. As usual in those days, one of his daily duties as Junior was to make the rounds of local businesses, delivering "collections" (bills from suppliers which were forwarded through the banks) and picking up collections which had been authorized for payment. This was the morning routine for the Juniors at each of the local banks, and it did not take long for Jim to decide that it was possible to reduce this duplication of effort. He gathered all of these Juniors, divided the town into sections, assigned one section to each Junior and they agreed to meet daily before making their delivery rounds. Every morning they met at the local coffee shop, sorted the collections from all of the banks into the sections assigned for each Junior, then went out and each of them delivered the collections from all banks to the businesses in their section. Later they met again at the coffee shop when they had completed their rounds, sorted all authorized collections by bank, then spent the rest of the morning at the coffee shop before returning to work. Amazing initiative from a kid on his first job, though management at the local banks would probably have disapproved. 

However, this was not the most exceptional experience of Jim's time at Bank of Montreal in New Glasgow. Hazing was an accepted practice in those days and new, inexperienced staff members would be assigned a ridiculous and impossible task as a prank. Examples might be to "wind the vault time lock" or "go to the Bank of ----- and ask if they will lend us a verbal agreement form". The task assigned to Jim was to "Go to the Royal Bank and ask for their General Ledger". Such a ridiculous request was sure to fail and would be a good laugh at both branches at the Junior's expense. Jim, however, took the request directly to the Royal Bank's junior officer, who was his friend from doing the daily exchange of collections. The Royal Bank's junior gave their General Ledger to his friend Jim, who brought it back to his Bank of Montreal branch. There was probably a bit of embarrassment at the Royal when their General Ledger was returned, wrapped and with the impression of the Bank of Montreal seal in the sealing wax. 

Of all the Junior Officers who were sent on this fool's errand, Jim O'Neill was the only one that I ever heard of who successfully brought back the General Ledger from the branch of a competitor bank.”  

Lloyd Varner
Sackville, NB


Letter to the Editor - “Protect the Bank’s Money”

April 17, 2020

We recently received a letter from John Helms, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan which we are pleased to share with you. If you have any comments about John’s letter we would enjoy hearing from you. Please send your letters and stories to the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at

“I worked for the Bank, on and off, over a 45-year period (I was hired and re-hired three times), retiring as Manager at Unity, Saskatchewan in 2008.  A recent letter to the Editor - "Guns in Branches", reminded me of my time at Red Deer, Alberta, main office in the mid-1960’s.  At that time we received our cash parcels via the Post Office.  The latter would notify us and two staff members would be tasked by the Accountant to pick up the parcel, with one person armed with a revolver. 

I volunteered, more often than not, as I was the one with a permit to carry from the RCMP to protect the Bank's money.  More important, it allowed me to strap on a holster carrying the revolver and with my sports jacket open walk down the street to the Post Office and back like a gunslinger from an old Western movie.  Good thing the firearms were removed from the branches years later, as most of us had very little, if any, handgun training.”

John Helms
Saskatoon, SK


In Memoriam – James Ronald O'Neill

April 16, 2020

Passed away peacefully at Margaret Bahen Hospice on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at the age of 88. James is reunited with his loving wife, the late Mary O'Neill (nee Whitehead). Cherished father of Peter (Lidia), Michael (Jocelynn), Kathy, Sharon (Doug), and Sean. Beloved Grandpa of Stephanie, Justin, Rheanna, and Corben. Great Grandpa of Thanos. Beloved brother of John (Carol), Mary, Patricia, Art (Marie), and Rose.

Jim was always connected with his community, whether through the Kinsmen club, K-40, or volunteering. With his kind heart and cheery spirit, he was a dear friend to many. Jim had a long career with BMO. Following retirement, he was proud to be one of the "Founding Fathers" of the BMO Cyber Pensioners.

The family would like to thank his team at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre for the care he has received over the years. They would also like to express their deep appreciation for the warmth and kindness shown by the staff and volunteers at Margaret Bahen Hospice during Jim's final journey.

A celebration of James' life will take place at a later date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Margaret Bahen Hospice (

Thanks to Tom Mitchell for the information. More information can be found at

It is with much sadness that we advise of the passing of Jim O'Neill. 

Jim was one of the Founding Fathers of BMO Cyberpensioners back in 1991 and later recognized as an Honorary Member of the News Team. An earlier story of Jim's role in the evolution of our network can be found by clicking the link in the About Us section and also the 25th Anniversary. It is true to say that without Jim's contribution back then and through subsequent years that the network we have today would not exist.

Needless to say, the News Team will greatly miss Jim's hard work, advice, guidance and most importantly his friendship. Rest in peace Jim.

The BMO Cyberpensioners News Team.


“Stepping Out On 3 Continents” Introduction - 3rd Instalment of “A Journey into Bank of Montreal’s International Banking Subsidiaries, Branches and Offices” dated Feb. 13/20 -April 13, 2020 — Tokyo, Japan and Hong Kong

April 13, 2020

A Journey into Bank of Montreal’s International Banking Subsidiaries, Branches and Offices” (February 13, 2020) Click What the New York Agency Does to read in case you missed it.

“Stepping Out on 3 Continents” - 3rd Instalment by Joan Mesic, Senior Correspondent

This is the 3rd instalment of “A Journey into Bank of Montreal’s International Banking Subsidiaries, Branches and Offices” dated February 13, 2020 which focuses on Bank of Montreal’s expansion, “Stepping out on 3 Continents”. The bank’s policy at that time was to bring on-the-spot service wherever Canadians did business which led to the extension of its international operations in Asia, Europe and North America.

Learn more about Bank of Montreal’s expansion into the Far East from an article in the bank’s staff magazine, September 1972, “Ten Years in Tokyo”.  To read CLICK HERE.



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 BMO Publications

BMO Obituaries - Apr., 2020
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BMO Retirements - Apr., 2020 
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Association Newsletters

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 New Members

June 2, 2020
Lesa Jasper of Calgary, AB

May 28, 2020
Ann Marie Kungl of Carrying Place, ON

May 25, 2020
James Kelsey of Toronto, ON

May 20, 2020
Nora Ward of Parry Sound, ON

May 14, 2020
Mimi Cheng of Toronto, ON
Gabriella Zillmer of North York, ON

May 7, 2020
Donna MacIvor of Kamloops, BC

May 4, 2020
John Walker of Whitby, ON

May 3, 2020
Grace Colombo of Milton, ON

April 28, 2020
Frank Walsh of Richnond Hill, ON

April 24, 2020
Carol Watson of Mississauga, ON

April 23, 2020
Angela Feng of Scarborough, ON

April 21, 2020
Franca Bennett of Bowmanville, ON

April 19, 2020
Ian Defreitas of Newmarket, ON

April 18, 2020
Marilyn M. Myers of North Vancouver, BC
Derral Moriyama of West Vancouver, BC

April 16, 2020
Claire Alves of Montreal, QC

April 15, 2020
Mary Tolentino of Maple, ON

April 12, 2020
Lori Poulton of Toronto, ON

April 11, 2020
Raymond Conroy of Scarborough, ON

April 4, 2020
Sheila Burgess of Barrie, ON


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