"In the spring of 1847, Samuel Marshall arrived in Milwaukee in a two-horse stagecoach with several thousand dollars, a few years of business experience and a dream for the young city of Milwaukee. At the time, Wisconsin was still one year away from becoming a state. Marshall rented half of a cobbler shop and, on April 21, 1847, opened the doors of 'Samuel Marshall & Co., Exchange Brokers.' In 1849, he was joined by Charles Ilsley. Together, they set out to build one of Wisconsin's premier financial institutions – Marshall & Ilsley Corporation."
So says the "history" page of the Web site of the Milwaukee-based parent company of M&I Bank.
Fast forward to April 2007, and Marshall & Ilsley was flying high. The company was reporting record quarterly earnings, and its stock was trading at more than $38 per share.
Little did we know then that the real estate bubble was about to burst, the Great Recession was about to slam the economy and M&I, holding hundreds of millions of dollars in doomed mortgages in Florida and Arizona, would soon crumble.
M&I could not stop the hemorrhaging, losing more than $2 billion in 2008, $758.6 million in 2009 and $515.9 million in 2010.
In its final full quarter as an independent company, the company recently reported a first quarter 2011 net loss of $142.0 million, or 27 cents per share. M&I entered into a definitive agreement on Dec. 17, 2010, in which all of its outstanding shares of common stock will be acquired by BMO Financial Group of Canada.
BMO will terminate the M&I brand, and Wisconsin's largest bank will be folded into BMO Harris Bank.
The death of the M&I brand and the loss of a corporate headquarters are nothing short of Milwaukee tragedies.
Shareholders are angry. Hundreds of employees are losing their jobs. For some, the pain is made worse with the knowledge that M&I chief executive officer Mark Furlong is skating away with a new gig as president and CEO of BMO Harris Bank in Chicago and an $18 million golden parach…Read more...