BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

April 06, 2011 08:00 ET

BMO Small Business Lending in Alberta Reached $3.9 Billion in 2010

- BMO Study Finds Only 58 per cent of Small-Business Owners in Alberta View Access to Credit an Important Determinant in Choosing Their Bank

- BMO to Add 150 New Small Business Banking Experts Across Canada in 2011

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 6, 2011) - BMO Bank of Montreal is helping support the business-led recovery across Canada, with small and medium-sized business lending in Alberta reaching $3.9 billion in 2010. With small businesses accounting for approximately 30 per cent of GDP and a growing driver of economic activity, BMO also announced the hiring of 150 new small business banking experts across the country.

"Regardless of where we are in the business cycle, entrepreneurs know that they have Bank of Montreal by their side," said Bill Hogg, District Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We work with them to understand fully their business and their evolving needs, and our decision last year to increase available business credit was important as they began moving forward with strategic spending and investment decisions, such as upgrading equipment, training and processes, to increase productivity," added Mr. Hogg.

In 2010, more than $3.9 billion in business financing was authorized to 31,329 small and medium-sized businesses in Alberta, and more than $29 billion was authorized across Canada.

Results from a new BMO Bank of Montreal survey also found that 83 per cent of entrepreneurs in Alberta are optimistic about the economy – the highest level in Canada. 75 per cent of small business owners are also investing in their business, and 58 per cent cite access to credit as an important factor when looking for a bank to take care of their business needs.

The Leger survey also showed that women small business owners are more likely to say that access to credit is important in deciding who to bank with (84 per cent versus 74 per cent men), and entrepreneurs who use social media as part of their business plans are more likely than those business owners who do not, to consider access to credit as an important factor (84 per cent versus 70 per cent).

According to BMO Economics, after a couple of dry years, short-term business credit has shown a great deal of improvement and has started 2011 on a very strong note. In the six months to January, credit has perked up 0.2 per cent annualized, the first positive reading since early 2009.

The online survey was conducted by Leger Marketing between February 1 – 25, 2011, using a sample of 507 Canadian small business owners. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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