BMO Harris announced the BMO for Black and Latinx Small Business Program will now be available in all BMO markets where BMO Harris operates branches. The program – part of BMO’s five-year, $5 billion EMpower commitment – was piloted in Illinois and Northwest Indiana last year. Due to high demand, BMO is making the loan program available to small businesses in all of BMO’s markets beginning in September.
In just nine months, the pilot received double the applications anticipated, putting $11 million in capital in the hands of more than 260 Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. BMO has also dedicated more than 300 volunteer hours to connecting with community organizations and entrepreneurs to spread the word about this competitive and comprehensive specialized loan program.
“The response to the pilot program has been tremendous,” Niamh Kristufek, head of U.S. Business Banking at BMO Harris Bank, said. “The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the barriers that disproportionately impacted underserved communities. We created the BMO for Black & Latinx Businesses Program to aid business owners in their recovery by increasing their access to capital and other resources. At BMO, we’re leaning in to fuel growth and opportunity for Black and Latinx small businesses to support strong neighborhoods wherever we work and live.”
The bank’s direct investment in Black and Latinx businesses has increased minority business owners’ access to capital and networks that break down barriers to inclusion and drive an inclusive economic recovery.
Marseil Jackson, owner of Dream Team Enterprises and participant in BMO for Black and Latinx Small Businesses said, “Access to capital provided the company with a gift to shift during the pandemic. As a medical supply company, we were able to shift to the distribution of PPE supplies which allowed the company to operate successfully. The BMO for Black and Latinx Business program is what I and other minority businesses needed to help sustain and even grow our business.”
In addition to increased access to capital, BMO for Black and Latinx Businesses provides customers with educational resources and planning tools to help their businesses become more resilient and scalable. BMO also maintains strong relationships with every business customer to increase their likelihood of financial success. Specifically, BMO for Black & Latinx Businesses includes:
- Access to Capital: Businessowners get better access to working capital with expanded credit criteria and competitive interest rates. Small businesses can get a revolving line of credit, and/or business credit card that will allow them to only pay interest on what they borrow. They can also qualify for rate discounts when setting up automatic payments from a BMO Harris Business Checking account.
- Access to Education:Free access to practical tools, templates, webinars and coaching to help business owners make real financial progress.
- Access to Partnerships:BMO is continually forming new partnerships with organizations to give business owners access to meaningful networks, additional coaching and educational resources, and alternative funding sources.
“Black- and Latinx-owned businesses are vital to a strong local and national economy,” Kristufek said. “The overwhelming response to the pilot program demonstrates the need for equitable access to working capital, stronger partnerships and educational resources – all things that contribute to a business’s expansion and growth. While we are proud of this program. It’s just one step in our long-term goals to do more for all small businesses.”