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BMO Harris adds office for Northeast

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In its third expansion within a year, BMO Harris has extended its dealership finance business to the Northeast, adding a office in Boston in April.

The lender hired Christopher Peck, who has spent 22 years working with dealers on their commercial financing needs, to lead business development throughout the Northeast, particularly in the New England and New York markets, BMO Harris told Automotive News on Tuesday.

“We see tremendous opportunity in this market, and with Chris’ knowledge of the local area and his passion for providing a great customer experience, we are extremely well positioned for future growth,” Ghram Debes, head of dealer finance for the Chicago bank, said in a statement.

This is just the latest expansion of BMO Harris’ dealership finance division, which offers commercial lending services, such as floorplan loans, acquisition finance and owner-occupied real estate finance, to dealers. In December 2016, the lender opened an office in San Diego, led by Yandro Valdez, and in August 2016, it opened an office in Cincinnati, led by Tony Isaacs.

Before April, BMO Harris did not have a physical presence in the Northeast market, though many of its clients were there.

“The Northeast is a great dealer market [with a] major concentration of population and high quality dealers,” Debes told Automotive News.

In the near future, the bank is hoping to expand to the Washington, D.C., and Dallas markets, Debes said.

“We’ve been continuing the growth we’ve been on since the day I walked in the door” in 2010, he said. In 2010, BMO entered the U.S. auto business at a time when many lenders were pulling out of the market.

In seven years, Debes grew his team from four employees to 50 and now has clients in 30 states. The lender expanded into the Northeast to better support its clients there, but Debes said BMO has gained business in the San Diego market after expanding there in December. He expects to grow the business in the Northeast as well.

Seven years ago, BMO’s dealership finance division had offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Crown Point, Ind. Today, it has those plus offices in Minneapolis; Tampa; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Kan.; St. Louis, Mo.; Joliet, Ill., Boston; San Diego and Cincinnati.

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