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Banking with integrity: an interview with BMO’s Chief Ethics Officer

March 4, 2024 | Recognition

Portrait of Ula Ubani

BMO has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for seven consecutive years. BMO is one of four banks worldwide, two banks in the U.S., one bank in India, and the only bank in Canada to be recognized in 2024. BMO is also the only bank in Canada to be recognized with this award since its inception in 2007. 

We spoke with BMO’s Chief Ethics Officer Ula Ubani about why ethical conduct matters at financial institutions – and all the ways it drives our success and fuels real financial progress for our customers. 

What do you think about the role ethics plays at a financial institution, in the context of the current external environment?  

In our complex, fast-paced and ever-changing world, the importance of business integrity and robust ethics, compliance, sustainability and governance programs can’t be overstated. It’s critical to a company’s reputation, customer loyalty and engagement and its success – both short- and long-term. 

How do ethics play a role in BMO’s work helping people make real financial progress? 

Simply put, good ethics are good business. People choose to bank with BMO because of our ethical business practices, strong governance, responsible risk management and our commitment to doing what’s right. 

Our ethical business practices lead directly to better customer relationships, built on a foundation of trust. It’s about living our values and showing up in every interaction with a customer with the mindset that we will make the best possible decision we can for them in that moment, it’s going to result in better outcomes for everybody.  

What does it mean to you for BMO to have been named one of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies award for the 7th year in a row – and to be the only bank in Canada recognized since the award’s inception in 2007? 

The WMEC recognition underscores our commitment to operating with integrity, as well as the strength of our ethics, compliance, corporate governance, sustainability and risk programs.   

This award is particularly meaningful because the evaluation encompasses so many areas – it reflects how we handle the good, and challenging times it’s how we consistently show up and live our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life

How is a focus on ethics a differentiator for us? 

Ethics has always been a differentiator for us – that’s why our core values are Integrity, Diversity, Empathy and Responsibility. These values underscore everything we do and how we do our work.  We’ve built our programs because we understand the importance of having a culture of integrity, and the value of ethics in business practices. We work hard to preserve our reputation – the proof point is the actions we take and how we do our work – and that translates into success for our business, customers, and communities. 

For more information on BMO’s recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere, visit the press release.

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