Skip navigation
Navigation skipped

News Releases

BMO’s Financial Crimes Unit Wins Gold at Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards
  • Receives award for “Best Unique and Innovative Learning Program”
  • BMO’s FCU Academy recognized for virtual escape rooms, simulated hacker demos, and hands-on bootcamps, highlighting its commitment to employee training and developing top talent

TORONTO, September 16, 2022 – BMO Financial Group has been recognized by Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence Awards in the category of Best Unique and Innovative Learning Program for its Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) Academy.

Launched in 2021, the FCU Academy is a collaboration between BMO’s Financial Crimes Unit, Technology & Operations, Human Resources, and BMO IFL (Institute for Learning). Its curriculum combines live learning sessions with a broad library of virtual resources that support the FCU’s four interdependent pillars: cybersecurity, physical security, fraud prevention, and resilience and integration. It also provides FCU team members with unique career development opportunities, such as a Sponsorship program that pairs talented employees with Senior Leaders for one-on-one coaching, guidance, and support.

“In an uncertain environment, the FCU Academy helps our people develop the future-focused skills they need to protect our clients, our business, and our reputation from emerging threats,” said Larry Zelvin, Head, BMO Financial Crimes Unit, BMO Financial Group. “This award from Brandon Hall Group validates our unique approach and shines a light on the incredible work of the FCU team and our partners across the bank. Congratulations to all – it’s a big win for BMO.”

The Academy spreads awareness about cybercrime through hands-on experiences that include:

  • ‘The Great Escape’: A videogame-style virtual escape room that challenges employees to find and resolve security threats in BMO and home office environments.
  • A live hacking demonstration: The FCU has educated more than 15,000 clients and community members with this real-time simulation that shows how a hack works and how it can be prevented. The demo is now part of BMO’s “Think Like a Customer” enterprise learning program.
  • The FCU Bootcamp: The Academy recently offered its security analyst Bootcamp program to diverse talent in BMO’s Employee Resource Groups. More than 300 employees took part, tackling real-world case studies that helped them develop cybersecurity skills and a deeper understanding of FCU-related careers.

“The program was an amazing experience, allowing me to learn from BMO’s top experts and opening doors that I otherwise wouldn’t have found,” said Ben Walsh, Manager, Strategic Planning & Initiatives for the FCU at BMO Financial Group, a recent graduate of the FCU Academy program. “Ultimately, it helped me obtain my CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) certification and led me to an exciting new role in Enterprise Fraud Management.”

Learning and skill development at BMO take many forms.  BMO U is a mobile anytime, anywhere learning platform that offers a wide range of bite-sized videos, articles, courses, podcasts, eBooks and opportunities for social collaboration – as well as deeper academies to support specialized skills and credentials. BMO Forward is a future-focused reskilling program to help employees acquire the technical skills they need for a digital future.  BMO IFL (Institute for Learning) delivers broader, cohort-based learning programs and informal self-study experiences – in-person and virtually. Every year thousands of leaders and employees participate in BMO courses, conferences, design and strategy sessions, hackathons and more.

In 2021, BMO invested more than $60 million in learning and skill development, which is an average of almost $1300 per employee. Between 2020 and 2021, year-over-year learning time rose by approximately 33 per cent.

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $1.07 trillion as of July 31, 2022, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.


For News Media Inquiries:
Kelsey Rutherford, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996

Twitter: @BMOMedia