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BMO named “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” for supporting progress of underserved U.S. businesses

BMO has received the prestigious “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” recognition by Financial Times-owned The Banker for our work to support the financial progress of underserved businesses in our U.S. communities. 

The award is one of only three global awards considering the work of banks spanning across 120 countries and recognizes the most innovative initiatives undertaken by financial institutions that enrich and improve the societies in which they operate.  

“We are thrilled that BMO has been recognized by The Banker for helping our customers, colleagues, and communities make real financial progress. By ensuring everyone – especially those facing systemic barriers – have access to capital, financial tools, and education, we are living our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.” 

– Niamh Kristufek
Head of U.S. Business Banking 

The Banker’s “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” aims to recognize financial institutions that enrich and improve the societies in which they operate. Banks are evaluated on initiatives implemented and the benefits gained by local communities.  

Highlights from this year’s recognition include: 

  • BMO EMpower 2.0: BMO launched BMO EMpower 2.0 earlier this year as a next step in our commitment to grow the good in our communities with a $40 billion commitment to support underrepresented communities across the U.S. To date, $16.5 billion in lending has been committed for Native, Black, Latino, and Women-owned small businesses – as well as billions of dollars in home mortgage lending to low-to-moderate income level homebuyers and communities of color, community development loans and investments, minority commercial lending, and philanthropy. 
  • Zero Barriers to Business: The program aims to break down barriers for historically underserved and marginalized groups – such as Black, Latino, Native, and Women-owned businesses – through inclusive banking products, services, and resources available to business owners in 22 states. Since launching the program in late 2020, the bank has helped minority small businesses make real financial progress by approving $80 million in small business loans, funding more than 3,400 small businesses, and graduating 45 customers from Zero Barriers to Business to qualify them for traditional lending programs under standard lending criteria. 
  • Celebrating Women Grant Program: Each year, BMO awards $80,000 in grants to eight women entrepreneurs in the U.S., supporting their growth plans and eliminating barriers to women’s financial progress and success. In addition to the grants, recipients are offered a comprehensive package that includes an education series focused on business growth, a one-year membership with one of the bank’s partner advisory boards, and access to meaningful networking opportunities. Learn more about this year’s recipients. 

Learn more about the 2023 Bank of the Year awards, and how BMO helps businesses make real financial progress.

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