Skip navigation

BMO Expands Minority Small Business Lending with Launch of U.S. Native-owned Business Program

BMO Financial Group today launched BMO for Native-owned Businesses as part of its five-year, $5 billion BMO EMpower initiative aimed at supporting an inclusive economic recovery for minority businesses, communities and families through lending, investing, giving and engagement in local communities. The program, officially launched on National Indigenous Peoples Day, also builds on the bank’s investment in small business lending to expand resources for women-, Black- and Latinx-owned businesses to include Native-owned businesses.

BMO for Native-owned Businesses offers greater access to working capital, meaningful networking opportunities, educational tools and resources to start up, scale up and grow. Included is the bank’s new specialized credit-lending product that provides expanded credit criteria and competitive interest rates for customers.  

Native CDFI Network (NCN), an organization that helps Native American Communities thrive and grow by increasing their access to capital and financial services, is partnering with BMO to launch the program. The partnership will be crucial to expand funding and resources to Native American Communities across BMO’s footprint.

“At the heart of Native CDFI Network’s (NCN) work is economic justice for Native people through access to capital and basic financial services. This newly formed partnership between NCN and BMO will more directly connect small business owners with Native CDFIs and, in turn, strengthen financial inclusion of Native people,” said Pete Upton, Interim CEO of Native CDFI Network. “NCN looks forward to launching and – over time – expanding this partnership to grow NCN’s ability to provide technical assistance to its Native CDFI members.”

Through the program, Native American business owners and entrepreneurs can receive loans of up to $50,000. These loans can be used for capital investments such as equipment, inventory, payroll and lease payments – and short-term receivable financing.

To be eligible for the lending program, businesses must have a physical operating location or headquarters in BMO’s retail banking markets, an annual revenue of $10 million or less and be 51 percent owned or controlled by individuals who self-identify as Native American.

“With the launch of BMO for Native-owned Businesses, we are breaking down historical financial barriers to create a more inclusive business environment. Every business owner deserves access to funding that helps their business grow and make real financial progress,” said Niamh Kristufek, head of U.S. Business Banking, BMO. “Many underserved and marginalized communities struggle to access capital, and we’re proud that BMO’s new program will create more economic opportunities for Native-owned businesses.”

Specifically, BMO for Native-owned Businesses includes:

  • Better access to capital: Native-owned business owners receive better access to working capital with expanded credit criteria and competitive interest rates. Small businesses are able to get a revolving line of credit, and/or business credit card that will allow them to only pay interest on what they borrow. They can also qualify for rate discounts when setting up automatic payments form a BMO Business Checking account and get improved access to funding with specialized lending criteria.
  • Access to Education: Free access to practical tools such as business plan templates, profit improvement calculators, videos, podcasts, webinars and coaching to help business owners make Real Financial Progress.
  • Access to Partnerships: BMO is continually forming new partnerships with organizations to give business owners access to meaningful networks, additional coaching and educational resources, and alternative funding sources. Current partners that support Native-owned businesses include Native CDFI Network, Allies for Community Business, IHCC and Chicago Urban League.

The program aligns with BMO’s purpose to boldly grow the good, in business and life, which included a commitment to double the bank’s support for small business and women entrepreneurs when launched in 2019.

For more information on BMO for Native-owned Businesses, please visit

About BMO EMpower

BMO EMpower is our $5 billion commitment over five years to address key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families in the United States. Through lending, investing, giving and engagement in our local communities, we are tackling barriers to inclusion in the financial services industry to create more opportunity for recovery and success.

Related Insights