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Stories of Progress: Native American BMO banker breaks down barriers in Wisconsin

At BMO, our commitment to creating a path to real financial progress is a priority. Recently, our Zero Barriers to Business initiative has been expanding further into the Indigenous community in Wisconsin –  with the help of a member of Wisconsin’s Oneida Tribe who also works at the Green Bay Packerland branch.  

Mercy (Metoxen) King is a relationship manager at the branch, as well as a prominent member of her tribe. Working at BMO, she embraces her career at a financial institution while expressing herself as an Indigenous woman, often wearing native ribbon skirts and adorning her workspace with native artwork and photos.  

“When I’m here and I’m able to be myself to the fullest, I’m able to show that to my community – and they’re coming in,” says Mercy. Her presence at the branch has also influenced members of her tribal community, bringing them familiarity and comfort when they come in. She notes that when other members of her community see her working, it often opens doors for meaningful conversations about their finances, which they may not be comfortable discussing otherwise. 

Since starting at BMO more than two years ago, Mercy has gotten involved with employee resource groups (ERGs). She’s also connected with Denisse Pachuca from BMO’s Zero Barriers to Business program, which works toward extending financial literacy programs to underserved communities, including Indigenous groups. Zero Barriers to Business is part of BMO’s multi-year, $40 billion EMpower commitment, aimed at closing the racial wealth gap for Women, Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native-American communities and fostering inclusive societies. BMO is proud to be supporting Indigenous-owned businesses by offering better access to capital, networking opportunities and resources like financial literacy education. 

Denisse has helped to bring financial literacy workshops to the Oneida Nation’s community center, reaching everyone from the youth to the elderly, thanks to the connection with Mercy. Now the program is expanding to focus on Indigenous small business owners and entrepreneurs as well.  

By empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools they need to make better financial decisions, BMO is working toward creating a more inclusive and equitable financial landscape – and bringing that literacy to a community that may not have had access to such resources previously, something Mercy feels may be the start of a generational change for the better. 

Learn more about BMO’s Zero Barriers to Business initiative here. 

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