BMO Bank of Montreal
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BMO Bank of Montreal

March 18, 2011 10:18 ET

BMO Encourages Canadians to Stay Green Even after St. Patrick's Day with Market-Leading BMO Eco Smart Mortgage™

BMO Eco Smart Mortgage offers market-leading 3.89 per cent, five-year fixed rate for Canadians who choose energy efficient homes

- Simple qualification process is arranged by BMO in the same time it takes to get your home appraised

- 51 per cent of Canadian homeowners cite utility costs as the biggest surprise of home ownership

- Nearly half of Canadians are planning energy efficient upgrades in the next year

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 18, 2011) - BMO Bank of Montreal is reminding Canadians that they can maintain their green glow, even after St. Patrick's day, with the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage, a new mortgage product designed to encourage and reward Canadian homeowners looking to reduce their energy usage, and save on home expenses.

People whose homes meet BMO's energy efficiency criteria will qualify for a market-leading five-year fixed rate of 3.89 per cent – a rate significantly lower than comparable green mortgage products. A typical customer with a $300,000 mortgage amortized over 30 years would save thousands of dollars over the five years on an Eco Smart Mortgage.

"St. Patrick's Day may be over but that doesn't mean you have to give up the green," said Katie Archdekin, Head of Mortgage Products, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The BMO Eco Smart Mortgage is designed to encourage homeowners to lower their energy usage and ultimately reduce the cost of owning a home. Canadians want to decrease their carbon footprint and recognize that their home is one of the key ways they can do so."

A new Leger Marketing survey, conducted for BMO Bank of Montreal, shows 47 per cent of Canadian homeowners plan to make energy efficient upgrades in the coming year, underscoring this appetite among Canadians to lower home energy costs.

Reduce energy, reduce expenses

The BMO survey shows that the majority of homeowners (51 per cent) cite utility costs as the biggest surprise financially when it comes to owning a home. Reducing energy usage is one way Canadians can significantly cut back the cost of running a home.

"The heating and cooling of a home represents approximately half of a homeowner's annual utility expenses," said Archdekin. "The cost of owning a home should not exceed one third of total household income, so Canadians should take advantage of every opportunity to reduce expenses, and energy usage is a responsible and easy place to start."

World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), one of the country's leading conservation organizations, and Zerofootprint, a socially responsible enterprise dedicated to reducing Canada's environmental footprint, underscored the positive impact individuals can have on the environment by taking simple steps to reduce energy usage in the home.

"WWF congratulates BMO Bank of Montreal on its efforts to encourage customers to select homes with energy-efficient features," said Hadley Archer, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, WWF Canada. "Energy conservation from individuals has the potential for a large-scale, meaningful impact on the environment, and we thank all those who are taking positive steps towards a more sustainable future."

"We endorse the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage as an important first step in influencing Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint," said Ron Dembo, CEO, Zerofootprint. "The more we can encourage Canadians to make smart choices about the products they purchase, and the more we measure and assess these choices to prove that they matter, the better off we'll all be."

The Leger Marketing survey was completed on-line from January 17th to January 20th using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1511 Canadians, 18 years of age or older. It has a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%.

How it works:

To qualify, customers visit a BMO branch or speak with a BMO mortgage specialist who can determine their individual needs and arrange for an authorized appraiser to determine if the home they own or are planning to buy meets specific, energy-saving requirements. These include:

  • High-efficiency heating and cooling systems – For example, ENERGY STAR® heating equipment can reduce utility bills by 15 per cent, while an ENERGY STAR qualified air-conditioning unit can lower costs by 30 per cent.
  • High quality attic insulation – One of the easiest home improvements and can translate into immediate savings on home energy bills, especially during the winter months.
  • Solar, tank-less or ENERGY STAR qualified hot water system – Switching to a tank-less or solar water heater can significantly reduce hot water use, which typically accounts for up to 20% of a home's energy consumption.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors and major appliances – Can save a homeowner almost 20 per cent on energy costs.

If the home qualifies, the customer will be automatically eligible for a market-leading 3.89 per cent mortgage rate from BMO. For more information, please visit www.bmo.com/ecosmart.

Backgrounder: BMO and the Environment

BMO has achieved carbon neutrality relative to its energy consumption and transportation emissions across the company, worldwide. BMO accomplished this by targeting emissions reductions, purchasing renewable energy and using carbon credits to offset the remainder. BMO is also a long-time signatory and respondent to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP); it is also the only Canadian headquartered company named to the Global 500 Carbon Performance Leadership Index for 2010.

BMO purchases nearly 24,000 megawatt hours of 100 per cent renewable energy annually in Canada, for use by 160 facilities across the country. In addition, Harris Bank has a three year agreement for the purchase of over 91,000 megawatt hours of 100 per cent renewable energy – enough to power all of its facilities in the U.S. As a result, approximately 39 per cent of BMO's total emissions footprint is mitigated through renewable energy purchases.

BMO is one of the initial investors in the Greening Canada Fund (GCF), the first-ever voluntary carbon emissions reduction fund aimed exclusively at large Canadian corporations. The fund provides direct access to high-quality carbon offset credits and helps BMO support Canadian-based energy efficiency projects, particularly those related to social and not-for-profit organizations such as Canadian public schools, hospitals, community housing and others. In its first year of operation, GCF has invested in energy conservation projects undertaken from coast to coast, including school boards in Montreal and Toronto, the municipalities of Hamilton and Guelph, and a farming operation in British Columbia. BMO's initial investment commitment in the fund is $10 million.

In addition, BMO offers two sustainable mutual funds, the BMO Sustainable Climate Class and the BMO Sustainable Opportunities Class. They provide exposure to climate and environmentally conscious technologies, products and services, as well as other sustainable themes, including healthy living, alternative energy and natural resources.

BMO is listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Series Index. BMO has also been included on the Jantzi/Maclean's list of the 50 Most Responsible Corporations in Canada for two consecutive years, and has been named to Corporate Knights Magazine's Best 50 Corporate Citizens list every year since 2003.

For more information, please visit www.bmo.com/environment.

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In Canada, the ENERGY STAR® name and symbol are administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada and registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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