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Women Entrepreneurs an Increasing Force in Canada, BMO Bank of Montreal Executive Tells Prime Minister’s Task Force  

Women entrepreneurs have steadily increased their share of business ownership over the past decade and represent a significant force when it comes to needing increased access to financial services from Canadian lenders, a BMO Bank of Montreal executive today told a parliamentary hearing.

In a presentation to the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs, Maria Racanelli, Vice-President, Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal, pointed out that the number of women who are self employed today is more than 250 per cent higher than it was 25 years ago, while the total work force has grown by only 60 per cent.

Racanelli noted that BMO doesn’t characterize business banking customers by gender, but takes the approach that in today’s complex business environment, all business customers need customized financial solutions to manage their business banking needs.   However, she noted that “all things being equal, women entrepreneurs like to do business with a women friendly organization, and that plays into a BMO strength.”

Racanelli told the Task Force that BMO was the first bank to be recognized with an award from the New York-based Catalyst Organization that monitors women’s progress through the corporate ranks, and the bank continues to be the prime corporate sponsor of the Rotman Canadian Entrepreneurship Award of the Year.  BMO has also achieved a leadership position in its percentage of women executives, which is now more than 35 per cent, up from nine per cent in 1991.

“At BMO Bank of Montreal our goal is to be the number one bank for small business in the country.  We are well on our way to reaching that goal,” she said.  “Over the past few years we have steadily increased our market share and, according to the Canadian Bankers Association, we are now the second largest small business banker with over 19.5 per cent of the market.”

BMO Bank of Montreal is a member of BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO), one of the largest financial services providers in North America.  BMO Financial Group serves clients across Canada and in the United States through its Canadian retail arm, BMO Bank of Montreal, through its Chicago-based Harris Bank, a major U.S. mid-west financial services organization, and through BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of Canada’s leading full-service investment firms.  BMO Financial Group is the second largest small business lender in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

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