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Bank of Montreal expanded the mandate of a key Chicago-based executive on Thursday in another demonstration of the Canadian lender’s increasing interest in the U.S. market.

Erminia Johannson, who has worked at the bank since 2012, was appointed group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking, a new role that gives her a cross-border focus.

Much like some of its competitors, BMO is plotting more growth south of the border as it faces a mature domestic market. The move follows the promotion of a more senior BMO executive; in late 2017, Cameron Fowler was named president of North American personal and business banking to take on additional responsibilities. In her new role, Ms. Johannson will continue to report to Mr. Fowler.

"With her expanded mandate, [Ms. Johannson] will support our ongoing efforts to accelerate growth,” Darryl White, BMO’s chief executive, said in a press release.

Canada’s fourth-largest bank by assets has been investing in digital capabilities to capture greater market share outside of its branch footprint in the United States, which is largely based in the Midwest. Last year, Ms. Johannson’s division enabled customers to open accounts through a digital platform, leading to “strong deposit growth,” according to an e-mail from BMO spokesman Paul Gammal.

BMO has been riding on its U.S.-driven growth. Its overall U.S. operations contributed to 35 per cent of the bank’s adjusted earnings in the first half of its 2019 fiscal year. That compares with a 28-per-cent contribution for all of 2018.

The bank, which reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, missed analyst estimates but posted an increase in net profit. The boost was driven in part by its U.S. division, where retail profits increased 17 per cent year-over-year, to $406-million. It was also one of two major banks to hike its dividend this reporting season.

In other executive moves, Richard Rudderham is vacating his long-time role leading BMO human resources. Mr. Rudderham, who has been with the bank since 1989, is taking on a new role as head of business technology integration.

Mona Malone, who joined BMO in 1996, is stepping into Mr. Rudderham’s former position as head of people and culture, and chief human resources officer.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Cameron Fowler was based in Chicago. He is, in fact, based in Toronto. The story also incorrectly stated that Mr. Fowler got his job in late 2018. In fact, he got his job in late 2017. This version of the story has been corrected.

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