BMO Financial Group announced BMO EMpower, a series of long-term commitments to advance inclusive economic recovery in the United States, pledging $5 billion over the next five years to address key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families.

The multi-year plan will be introduced at a virtual event hosted by BMO on Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. CT titled “Getting to Economic Equity” and will feature a panel discussion with business and community leaders, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. The event will focus on the role public-private partnerships play in advancing racial and economic equity. The event is open to the public and a link to register can be found here.

“The barriers that disproportionately affect minorities – and in particular, Black and Latinx communities – have only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic,” David Casper, U.S. CEO of BMO Financial Group, said. “The bold commitments outlined in this pledge are designed to help tackle barriers to inclusion in the financial services industry and create more opportunity for our clients, communities and colleagues to succeed in business and in life.”

“We must work together to break down the economic inequities created by generations of systemic racism,” Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said. “I am excited to see BMO stepping up to help create a more just and equitable society. BMO EMpower represents a transformative approach for addressing the key drivers of the racial wealth gap through direct investment in Black and Latinx communities. We are proud to partner with BMO as we endeavor to pave the way for a brighter future for all.”

The commitments span across BMO’s operations and aim to empower a more equitable economy:

  • $3 billion for community reinvestment in affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization
  • $500 million for minority commercial lending to accelerate lending for Black- and Latinx-owned commercial businesses
  • $500 million in mortgage lending in low-to-moderate income level communities
  • $500 million to advance supplier/business diversity initiatives, diverse talent advancement programs and increase philanthropy targeted at systemic change
    • This includes an additional $250 million in spend with diverse suppliers across North America and a diverse supplier outreach and development program that engages with diverse business communities and partners with advocacy councils on outreach and education for diverse supplier communities
    • BMO will also increase availability of Black and Latinx investment managers on its wealth management platform.
  • $300 million for small business lending to expand resources for women-, Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses
  • $300 million for critical support for municipal and non-profit clients

“There is no middle ground on issues of racial injustice and inclusion, and we are working to ensure that we are a meaningful part of that change,” Casper said. “That includes making direct investment to empower economic equity for underserved communities.”