Mellon and BONY merge
Two great names in US banking circles have agreed to merge. Does anyone remember anymore why the Canadian banks aren’t allowed to do the same? Do we miss National Trust or Canada Trust?
Remember all of the branch closures politicians were worried about in the wake of the ill-fated BMO-RBC proposal of the late 90s? They went ahead and closed the branches anyway, just as former BMO Chairman Matt Barrett predicted would be inevitable. In 1997, RBC had 1,453 branches in Canada. In 2005, 1,104. That says it all.
And they increased their ATM network by just 29 machines during that same timeframe. Had the merger been approved the federal government would have locked the banks in for far less dramatic branch closures than 24% over seven years.
Chairman Barrett didn’t forsee them becoming Starbucks outlets and restaurants, but you certainly don’t hear many complaints about lack of choice and service: the world has changed, with ATM access, U.S. lenders calling you at home offering new lines of credit, the rise of mortgage brokers or the proliferation of managing your bank accounts via internet and telephone banking. RBC added about 8,000 staff during that 1997-2005 timeframe, so service is still on their minds as well.
Romantic that I am, what are we waiting for?