Canadian financial services provider BMO Financial Group announced today a new $5 billion commitment in capital over five years to support women business owners in Canada.

The allocation builds on BMO’s $2 billion and $3 billion commitments in 2014 and 2018, and supports the bank’s sustainable finance goals, which include commitments to deploy $300 billion in capital to clients pursuing sustainable outcomes through green, social and sustainable lending, underwriting, advisory services, and to mobilize $700 billion through responsible advisory and investment management services by 2025.

BMO stated that it is committed to removing barriers to women’s empowerment and that its Purpose commitments include mobilizing $400 billion for sustainable finance, increasing support for small businesses and women entrepreneurs, and committing to key diversity goals.

Christine Cooper, Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group, said:

“Our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, comes to life through initiatives like this that drive progress towards a thriving and inclusive post-pandemic economy. We recognize the great impact women business owners have on our communities and we are committed to helping them access the capital they need to grow their businesses, and through them, our economy.”

The bank outlined some of its recent gender equity commitments and initiatives, including the launch of a $750 million Women in Business Bond solution in March 2021, with proceeds allocated toward women-owned businesses. In 2020, BMO also became the first Canadian bank to sign the UN Women’s Empowerment principles, and the bank’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 strategy includes diversity goals such as having at least 40% of senior leader roles filled by employees who identify as women, among others.

Moriah Linton, Head, BMO for Women, the bank’s program focused on supporting initiatives for women empowerment within the workforce, said:

“Recognizing and fostering extraordinary women is at the heart of BMO for Women. We are committed to removing barriers to women’s financial progress and on International Women’s Day and everyday, this means providing access, tools and resources to support women who are driving change and advancing their communities.”