(CBC) -- BMO kicked off bank earnings season Wednesday by reporting better-than-expected second-quarter profits as the steadily improving economy allowed it to set aside less to cover bad loans.
Bank of Montreal said its quarterly profits jumped $55 million to $800 million. Adjusted earnings were $1.35 a share, which topped analysts expectations by four cents a share.
"We are encouraged by the generally improving trend we are seeing with respect to loan losses and our rising return on equity, which reached 16.7 per cent in the quarter on a very strong capital base," CEO Bill Downe said in a statement.
"As we see the signs of a business-led recovery in both Canada and the United States, we believe that banks like ours have a unique institutional responsibility to play in that recovery," he said.
BMO 3-month stock chart
The bank trimmed its provisions for loan losses to $145 million, down 42 per cent from the $249 million it set aside in the same quarter a year ago.
Quarterly revenues rose 5.5 per cent to $3.22 billion.
The bank held its quarterly dividend steady at 70 cents a share, which at the current stock price generates a yield of 4.60 per cent..
BMO shares closed Tuesday at $61.50.