February 24, 2024

Is BMO an Ethical Bank?

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BMO has been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for six consecutive years. How did they earn this award? Find out.

BMO was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2023 by Ethisphere.[1] They were among the four banks worldwide to earn a spot on the list.

But, what did BMO do to be part of the world's best? Read on to learn what makes BMO an ethical bank, how it operates, and how its good actions affect your banking experience.

Ethisphere is a company that defines and measures corporate ethics, acknowledges top-performing companies, and advocates for ethical business practices.

How much does a bank's ethics affect your choice?

Is BMO an Ethical Company?

Yes, BMO is able to tick the boxes when it comes to ethical and responsible banking. They summarize this in their Bold Commitments for 2025.[2]

These commitments are categorized into three main targets:

  • For a Thriving Economy: checks off being socially responsible and invests in the community.

  • For a Sustainable Future: checks off being environmentally sustainable.

  • For an Inclusive Society: checks off being socially inclusive and diverse.

For transparency, BMO does a good job of keeping a public repository of reports on its website.[3] Their financials are also available to the public.

BMO also went through a rigorous evaluation process by Ethisphere to be one of the World's Most Ethical Companies, including governance as part of its criteria.

This evaluation involves the meticulous review of a company's submitted documents and publicly available information.

What is ethical banking?
Ethical banking is when a bank follows ethical practices to make a positive social and environmental impact through its operations. Thus, an ethical bank is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, transparent, inclusive, invests in the community, and has good corporate governance.

In your opinion, what shows BMO's commitment to ethics?

Criteria for the World's Most Ethical Companies

The criteria to be one of the World's Most Ethical Companies make up five categories that will add up to Ethisphere's Ethics Quotient. These are: [4]

  • Ethics and Compliance Program: Assesses a company's ethical program structure and enforcement.

  • Culture of Ethics: Evaluates efforts to establish an ethical culture within the company and measure its impact.

  • Environmental & Societal Impact: Looks at commitment to sustainability, community involvement, and workplace well-being.

  • Governance: Centers on oversight, governance principles, and risk management to ensure effective corporate governance.

  • Third-Party Management: Examines how a company manages and evaluates its third-party relationships, particularly in supply chain onboarding, monitoring, and oversight.

Ethisphere lays out the whole process for companies hoping to be part of the list on their website.

What matters most to you when judging a bank's ethics?

BMO's Code of Conduct

At the core of BMO is a Code of Conduct centered in Doing what's right. It is a code that everyone at BMO follows regardless of hierarchy. It has five principles:

  1. Be honest and respectful.
  2. Be alert to behavior contrary to the Code.
  3. Be true to the letter and spirit of the law.
  4. Be conscientious about security.
  5. Manage conflicts of interest.

BMO employees are required to go through annual training about their Code. Their Code of Conduct is also available for the public to read, showing their commitment to abide by their values. [5]

What are BMO's company values?
  • Integrity: Do what's right
  • Empathy: Put others first
  • Diversity: Learn from difference
  • Responsibility: Make tomorrow better

What is BMO Bank?

BMO Bank is a retail bank in the U.S. and a subsidiary of Canada-based Bank of Montreal. They offer a wide range of banking and investment products and services.

They also have 1,000+ branches nationwide and give over 4 million[6] customers in the U.S. access to an ATM network of over 40,000.[7]

Is BMO a Trustworthy Bank?

Yes, BMO Bank is a trustworthy bank. They are a member of the FDIC (Cert #16571) which means deposits are insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category.

In the unlikely event that the bank closes down, you are then guaranteed to get your money back.

Additionally, BMO is expected to handle its customers' money and personal information with integrity. So, you can trust their commitment to keep you and your money safe.

How BMO Stands Out From Other Banks

BMO is one of only four banks globally (and the only bank in Canada) to get a spot on the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2023. And, they have been a consistent name on this list for six years now.

Aside from this, BMO boasts other recognitions such as:[8]

  • Forbes Magazine's The World's Best Banks for 2 years
  • Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for 8 years
  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 17 years
  • Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World for 4 years

Is BMO a Sustainable Bank?

Sustainability is one of BMO's Bold Commitments. They aim to be net zero by 2050 and to practice sustainable financing and responsible investing.[9]

Additionally, BMO Climate Institute exists to further support customers by linking science, policy, finance, and economics.

With the current focus on ESG initiatives, BMO practices environmental and social risk management to identify and address any concerns that may impact their stakeholders and operations.

BMO publishes Climate and Sustainability Reports publicly for anyone to read.

Is BMO a Diverse Bank?

Having Zero Barriers to Inclusion is a strategy that BMO hopes to realize by 2025. They are committed to providing access to services and opportunities to their customers, employees, and communities.

They have a variety of projects including corporate outreaches, volunteering, and many programs serving minority groups and the youth. [10]

The BMO also strives for workplace diversity through several initiatives:

  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): to foster an inclusive workplace and community.

  • Workforce Representation Goals: to address gaps in representation across BMO.

  • BMO's Accessibility Plan: to remove and prevent accessibility barriers.

Does BMO support LGBTQ?
Absolutely. Inclusion and diversity is a part of BMO's Bold Commitments for 2025.

Bottom Line

BMO backs up its being one of the World's Most Ethical Companies with a solid Code of Conduct that they implement throughout the bank.

They even have multiple projects and initiatives addressing areas of concern like supporting economic growth, sustainability, and social inclusion. If you want to learn more about BMO's commitments, visit their Impact page.


  1. ^ BMO. BMO named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute, Retrieved 12/05/2023
  2. ^ BMO. BMO's Bold Commitments for 2025, Retrieved 10/06/2023
  3. ^ BMO. Reporting, Retrieved 10/26/2023
  4. ^ Ethispere. World's Most Ethical Companies, Retrieved 10/06/2023
  5. ^ BMO. Code of conduct, Retrieved 10/06/2023
  6. ^ BMO. At a Glance, Retrieved 12/05/2023
  7. ^ BMO. Branches & ATMs, Retrieved 12/05/2023
  8. ^ BMO. Awards & recognition, Retrieved 12/05/2023
  9. ^ BMO. Climate change, Retrieved 12/05/2023
  10. ^ BMO. Diversity, equity and inclusion, Retrieved 10/06/2023
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