As 2023 quickly approaches, Az Business magazine sat down with some of Arizona’s most innovative and forward-thinking business leaders to discuss industry trends and potential new business development executives should be paying attention to in 2023.

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Today, we meet Michael Blanton, managing director – Arizona for BMO Wealth Management.

Michael Blanton

Managing director – Arizona

BMO Wealth Management

IMPACT OF ACQUISITION: “BMO’s acquisition of Bank of the West means several things. For one, we currently have 50 branches in the state, and it allows to expand our branch network up to 65. Bank of the West has 15 branches. More importantly, it allows us to be in the markets and communities where our clients live and conduct business. It will allow Bank of the West clients the opportunity to tap into some of the expertise that we have at BMO and vice versa. That benefits our clients, the communities and our employees, collectively.”

GROWTH PLANS: “I would describe BMO as on the move, and we have significant growth plans in the Arizona market for 2023, in large part because of our acquisition of Bank of the West, but also because of the economic activity in Arizona. The group that I oversee, our private banking group, we’re looking to add a significant number of senior wealth advisors, trust and estate planning professionals, as well as investment professionals. It just speaks to the activity in Arizona and our need to continue to build out the team that we have here for the communities in which we compete.”

LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS: “We are in the people business, so I am relationship-centric. What I have found is that the investment that you make in relationships, you get out of it what you put into it. It’s a lot more powerful to get folks to do things for you because they want to versus because you have to. I think from a leadership standpoint, inspiring the team, being a role model, leading by example, those are all qualities that are important in leading the team.”

IMPACT OF PANDEMIC: “The pandemic has had a fairly outsized impact on the way that we do business at BMO. It raises the importance of work-life balance and our ability to work with our employees and put them in the best possible situation to succeed, whatever that environment looks like. It also strengthened our ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances in a way that allows us to still serve our clients and that is pretty powerful. As a result, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to the way that things were. It shows a resilience with the team that we have, our clients and just different ways of doing business.”