CHICAGO, ILLINOIS and KITCHENER, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2012) - BMO Financial Group today announced a financial relief program to assist customers affected by dry conditions throughout much of North America.
Record heat and lack of rain have been unforgiving in the U.S. Midwest this summer, leading to the worst drought the U.S. has seen in 56 years. Reports estimate that as of July 31, nearly two-thirds of the continental U.S. was experiencing some level of drought. For most of the growing season in Ontario, farmers have faced close to record low levels of precipitation that have reduced yields for crop farmers and limited feed availability for livestock producers.
"Banks have a unique responsibility in the creation of economic prosperity. Society rightly expects that bankers will do the right thing and stand behind the people who put food on our tables," said Bill Downe, President and CEO, BMO Financial Group. "For almost 200 years, we've earned the trust of farmers and become one of the largest agricultural lenders in North America - not just by working with them in good times, but by being there when it really counts."
Under the program BMO customers can apply for:
- Working capital assistance
- Deferral of loan payments
- Other measures to assist farmers
"As one of the top ten ag-banks in the United States, we at BMO Harris Bank believe it's important to stand with our customers during these trying times," said Sam Miller, Managing Director and Group Head, Agriculture, BMO Harris Bank.
"Farmers and rural communities in Ontario have been affected, and we hope that these initiatives will help alleviate some of the difficulties they face," said David Rinneard, National Manager of Agriculture, BMO Bank of Montreal.
BMO customers in both countries are invited to contact their local branch and to speak to a commercial account manager about their particular financial needs.
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.