CALGARY, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - Bank of Montreal is expanding its banking network, opening bank-branded and staffed branches in Canada Safeway Limited grocery stores.

The bank and Safeway will open a total of 100 branches in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and north-western Ontario over the next four years. Four of those branches will open in Calgary by the end of 1998.

Bank of Montreal branches in Safeway represent a different kind of branch, helping to meet the demand of Canadians for financial services anytime, anywhere'', said Matthew W. Barrett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Montreal.

These in-store branches combine human touch and hi-tech services, making banking more widely and conveniently accessible to all consumers. Each store will have a fully-trained financial services professional on site, helping customers with everything from mortgages to mutual funds.''

The Safeway in-store branches will have longer hours than traditional branches. They will be open during supermarket hours, seven days a week. In addition to having bank employees on site, they will have an automated banking machine, an interactive kiosk with NetBanking facilities, on-line AIR MILES reward miles balance inquiries and financial planning tools. The bank has already rolled out this specially-designed banking concept in Halifax and various cities in Ontario.

It is only natural that our companies combine our strengths to form this new partnership,'' said Grant M. Hansen, Chief Operating Officer of Canada Safeway Limited. Safeway has 212 stores across western Canada and has been open since 1929. Safeway and Bank of Montreal have a rich heritage and names that Canadians trust and respect.''

A new banking plan will offer a combination of AIR MILES rewards and special grocery product offerings in these stores. The AIR MILES program is a loyalty program that allows consumers to earn a variety of rewards while shopping for everyday goods and services.

Bank of Montreal has launched a number of new ways to respond to the changing customer needs for financial services:

    - in-store, Bank of Montreal branded branches in supermarkets.
    - in-mall, called Pathways Financial Growth Centres, where customers can
      find financial information through videos, interactive software and
      literature.  Two have already opened and two are expected to open later
      this fall.
    - investore, located in shopping malls, offering customers investment
      information and a complete range of money management products and
      services in a retail environment.  Five have opened and another four
      will open over the next year.
    - remote branches, banking centres in remote communities.  Early last
      year, Bank of Montreal opened a remote branch within the post office in
      Nain, Labrador.  Bank of Montreal recently announced plans to open
      another 20 locations with Canada Post, bringing personal banking
      services to communities that have never had a bank before.

Bank of Montreal, Canada's first bank, is a highly diversified financial services institution whose group of companies includes Nesbitt Burns, Chicago-based Harris Bank and mbanx, the first North American-wide banking unit. Bank of Montreal has an equity position in, and an alliance with, Grupo Financiero Bancomer, the leading Mexican financial institution.

Canada Safeway Ltd. has been serving Canadians since 1929. The company operates 212 food and drug retail outlets across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and north-western Ontario. In support of its stores, the company has an extensive network of distribution, manufacturing and food processing facilities. Safeway is 30,000 people across western Canada dedicated to providing the best service to its customers.

/For further information: Paul Gammal, Bank of Montreal, (416) 927-2740, Ron Monet, Bank of Montreal, (514) 877-1101, Toby Oswald, Canada Safeway, (403) 730-3511, Internet: and

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