This is the kind of thing my grandparents used to do: refer to places by their names from 50 years earlier.  Now I do it, too.  No doubt someday my kids will, too.

The building below is the Marshall & Ilsley Bank, or as Milwaukeeans have always called it, “M&I.”  Samuel Marshall and Charles Ilsley were real people who actually lived in Milwaukee, the city where they did business.  Today this bank is a subsidiary of Canadian-owned BMO Financial Group, known in Canada as the Bank of Montreal.  Or, as they like to style themselves “Be Mo.”  (Don’t you think “Bank of Montreal” should shorten to an acronym of “BOM” or “BOMO” instead of “BMO”?  Then we could call them “Bom” or “Bo Mo” instead of what sounds like a slogan encouraging us to “Be More” by availing ourselves of their services.  But I digress . . . )

When an appointment yesterday afternoon took my daughter and me past this building, she mentioned how cool the lines on this building looked running up toward the sky.  (Yep, she takes after me, I guess 🙂 )


About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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8 Responses to M&I / BMO

  1. scissna says:

    Love this idea that we keep calling something by it’s old name. The First Wisconsin Building for example or the Marine Bank Building. Funny that the Gimbel’s Building didn’t do that. Hum….only banks? Anyway years ago, and I do mean years, I wanted to write a story called “The Nicest People on Earth Work at the M&I.” They gave my partner and I a joint account in 1973 after we had been turned down by First Wisconsin and a couple of others. I remember what the First Wisconsin guy said, “What happens if one of you runs off with all the money?” Click.


  2. MELewis says:

    I’d vote for BOMO. But I guess anything is better than the dreaded ‘BM’ 😉


  3. mworfolk says:

    I’m Canadian and my very first bank account as a child was at the Bank of Montreal…I couldn’t figure out why they decided to re-brand themselves as BMO. I found it especially strange given the pronunciation “bee-mo.” Why not, as you say, go big or go home–they should have gone with BoM and had their ads say, “We are the BoM!!” I guess this is why I’m not an adwriter 🙂

    I still call it the Bank of Montreal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I kind if miss the days when banks and ither businesses had real names made up of actual words. Like Kentucky Fried Chicken. Guess that’s why I’m not an ad writer, too 😄


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