BMO is doubling down on its efforts to remove systemic hurdles erected in front of Black business owners.
The bank recently announced the expansion of its Zero Barriers to Business program for Black, Latino, Native, and Women-owned businesses. The initiative aims to break down barriers for historically underserved and marginalized groups through inclusive banking products, services, and resources per a news release.
The expansive move is a part of BMO EMpower 2.0 – the financial insititution’s more than $40 billion plan to propel the progress of minority-owned businesses.
“Helping our clients, colleagues and communities make real financial progress is at the core of our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life,” said Niamh Kristufek, Head of U.S. Business Banking at BMO in a news release. “The launch of BMO’s Zero Barriers to Business to our expanded footprint brings us one step closer to a more inclusive society – especially for groups facing systemic barriers – by ensuring our clients have access to capital and financial tools and education.”
The Zero Barriers to Business is now situated 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.
The program touts better access to capital, education and partnerships which includes the approval of $80 million in small business loans, funding for more than 3,400 small businesses and offering more than 800 hours of educational webinars.
“Colorado Enterprise Fund’s mission has always been to provide access to capital to underserved communities including minority-owned small businesses. With the funding from BMO, CEF will focus even more economic and educational resources toward Latino small business entrepreneurs throughout Colorado,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEO, Colorado Enterprise Fund, one of the programs partners.
More can be learned about the program at https://www.bmo.com/en-us/main/business-banking/specialty-lending/.