Our business is fundamentally personal. The strength of the bank lies in the human connections that give meaning to our work – and in the knowledge that we can only achieve together what we believe individually.
It’s impossible to draw a line dividing corporate responsibility from personal responsibility. The two are inextricably linked.
As an organization, BMO strives constantly to meet society’s expectations of banks, upholding the highest standards of transparency, accountability and sound governance. We insist on fairness, encourage diversity and measure success beyond dollars and cents.
At the same time, our ability to deliver on these corporate commitments is determined by the personal values of our employees, who work closely with our customers and generously help contribute to improving life in our communities – continuing a tradition of social engagement that has distinguished our bank since we opened for business nearly 200 years ago.
This understanding frames BMO’s entire approach to corporate responsibility: we can only achieve together what we believe individually. The energy and passion we bring to creating opportunity for customers and giving back to our communities reflect the simple fact that for us, banking is personal.
The Value of Trust
The borderless world, however, is about more than geography. As consumers navigate fast-moving networked environments, they’re naturally concerned about where to anchor their trust. If once it was possible for the sheer scale of an institution to inspire confidence, those days are long gone. Today, more than ever, trust can only be built on a concrete record of delivery. We expect to be judged not by a narrative, but by what we do – more than 45,000 of us hold ourselves to this standard.
This is the context that must also be placed around the effective regulation and supervision of our industry. The sweeping changes implemented to date have brought greater stability to the financial system and stamped out irresponsible behaviours that extended well beyond banking. The challenge now is to find the right balance between necessary further reforms and the ability of banks to remain focused on what we’re ultimately in business to do: create jobs, provide credit to individuals and businesses, invest directly in communities, pay our taxes and earn a reasonable return for our shareholders.
We work to make life easier for our customers – whether individual savers or large enterprises – and at the same time to build confidence in a highly complex system. Those two goals converge in the common ground of trust. And as we win and sustain the trust of all our stakeholders, the services we provide become inherently more valuable.
Making it Personal
The other theme woven through this report, and indeed through every initiative BMO undertakes, is that broad strategic achievements are comprised of countless individual efforts.
Our business is fundamentally personal. As we help customers manage their spending, grow their savings, borrow smartly and invest wisely, we build close, long-term relationships. So it’s only natural that our approach to corporate responsibility is grounded in the personal commitment of every BMO employee. In a borderless world where so many traditional points of contact are no longer relevant, the links between like-minded people with a shared sense of purpose are more vital than ever. And, as our report theme suggests, the stories of their success are by definition human interest stories.