UPDATE 1-BMO Q3 profit jumps 17 percent as loan losses drop

Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:15am EDT

TORONTO Aug 27 (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal, Canada's No. 4 bank, said on Tuesday its third-quarter profit rose 17 percent, benefiting from higher insurance income and lower provisions for bad loans.

BMO, the first Canadian lender to report results for the fiscal third quarter, earned C$1.14 billion ($1.05 billion), or C$1.68 a share, in the period ended July 31. That compared with a profit of C$970 million, or C$1.42 a share, in the year-before period.

The latest result topped analysts' expectations of a profit of C$1.52 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The profit increase was driven primarily by a sharp drop in loan loss provisions to C$77 million from C$237 million.

Profit at its private client group, which includes wealth management and insurance, doubled to C$218 million, due largely to an increase in long-term interest rates.

Canadian retail bank profit rose 9 percent to C$497 million, as higher balances and fee volumes more than made up for narrower interest margins.

Net income at its Harris U.S. bank operation, which includes assets acquired in the 2011 acquisition of Wisconsin lender Marshall & Illsley, climbed 7 percent to US$147 million.