BMO Named “Bank Of The Year For Banking In The Community” By Financial Times

  • The Banker’s “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” award recognizes the most innovative initiatives undertaken by financial institutions that enrich and improve the societies in which they operate.
  • Recognized are BMO’s small business commitments within “BMO EMpower 2.0”, the bank’s more than $40 billion community benefits plan to support underrepresented communities in the U.S.

, /PRNewswire/ – BMO today announced it has received the prestigious “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” recognition by Financial Times-owned The Banker – one of only three global awards that considers the work of banks spanning 120 countries. Recognized is BMO’s work to support the financial progress of underserved businesses in the communities it serves in the United States. Global winners were revealed during The Banker‘s “2023 Bank of the Year” awards ceremony in London, England.

“We’re thrilled that BMO has been recognized by The Banker for helping our customers, colleagues, and communities make real financial progress,” said Niamh Kristufek, Head of U.S. Business Banking at BMO. “By ensuring everyone – especially those facing barriers to inclusion – has access to capital, financial tools, and education, we are living our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life.”

The Banker‘s “Bank of the Year for Banking in the Community” recognition highlights 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: After BMO exceeded its $5 billion goal in just two years, the bank launched BMO EMpower 2.0, the next step in its commitment to grow the good in its communities with a $40 billion commitment to support underrepresented communities across the U.S. Under BMO EMpower 2.0, $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. It helps business owners in 22 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Since launching the program in late 2020, the bank has helped minority small businesses make real financial progress by approving $80 million small business loans, funding more than 3,400 small businesses, and graduating 45 customers from Zero Barriers to Business to qualify for traditional lending programs under standard lending criteria.
  • Celebrating Women Grant Program: As part of BMO’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion strategy, the program aims to eliminate barriers to women’s financial progress and success. Each year, BMO awards $80,000 in grants to eight women entrepreneurs in the U.S., supporting their growth plans. 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.

To learn more and view the 2023 Bank of the Year awards, visit To learn more about how BMO helps businesses make real financial progress, visit

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of October 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

Media Contact: Lucas Seiler, Chicago, [email protected], 312-340-8576

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

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