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New owners of M&I Bank expect layoffs

About 475 jobs will be cut after the parent company of Harris Bank acquired Milwaukee's M &I banking chain.

Jim Kappel of BMO Harris said the layoffs would take place during the next four months throughout the company's Midwest region. Thirteen branches will close, including one in Wisconsin that M&I planned before the acquisition was finalized on July 5.

Some duplicative executive posts had been cut earlier, but the July 20 announcement represents the company's first mass-scale job reductions. About 100 of the job cuts will be in Metro Milwaukee, and Kappel says half those people will be offered jobs at one of BMO's vendors - mostly in human resources and security.

Kappel notes that about 400 other positions in the newly-merged Harris chain are vacant, and the laid-off employees can apply for those. M&I had about 4,300 jobs in southeast Wisconsin when the BMO Harris acquisition was first announced last December.

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