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A company’s first responsibility is to be well managed

Today people expect more of businesses than ever before. But as they set higher standards and apply closer scrutiny, what they’re really looking for comes down to one key element: responsibility. It’s what market leaders have always done – act responsibly to achieve sustainable positive results.

Image of Scott Ferris

“Clients tell me, ‘Harris gives us the reach of a global financial institution.’ It's also our consistency and stability that stand out.”

Scott Ferris
Managing Director, BMO Harris Bank N.A. (formerly Harris N.A.)
Chicago, Illinois

As the uncertainty that swept financial markets in late 2008 led to a global downturn, the impact on individual lives was mirrored in the damaged reputations of businesses that had lost their way and disappointed long-time stakeholders. The public conversation soon turned from specific examples of questionable judgment to broader issues of corporate governance and accountability.

Customers want to know that they can still invest their most valued asset: trust. People want to see that institutions are actively striving to meet and exceed their high expectations. Gauging the depth of that commitment means looking beyond corporate declarations of vision and values. Organizations, like individuals, are judged not by what they say, but by what they do.

A company’s good name is a reward bestowed by customers who feel their needs have been well served. Financial institutions earn solid reputations through sound decision-making and by upholding the principles of responsible management, maintaining capital strength and strategically managing risk in complex global markets.

As Canada’s financial sector reaffirms its stewardship role in ensuring economic stability, governance practices must be rigorous and transparent. Codes of conduct must extend beyond the boardroom to treat all employees equitably and welcome their diverse points of view. Customers must receive the same level of respect, whether in a branch down the street or an office halfway around the globe. Communities should be able to count on support for local efforts to improve health and prosperity. And the entire planet should benefit from companies’ efforts to reduce their collective footprint.

Measuring success against the triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental responsibility is not a matter of compliance – it’s a business imperative. From adopting greener practices to safeguarding against risk, responsible choices spur competition, inspire innovation and drive sustainable growth. And the loyalty they create is embodied in the ultimate hallmark of corporate responsibility: reputation.

Tier 1 Capital Ratio (%): Basel I – 2006: 10.22; 2007: 9.51. Basel II – 2008: 9.77; 2009: 12.24; 2010: 13.45. Data is as at October 31, 2010 for Canadian Banks and September 30, 2010 for U.S. banks. Basel I and Basel II measures are not comparable.

Capital Strength

BMO is the ninth-largest* bank in North America, as measured by market capitalization. We’re financially strong, with a Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 13.45%.

See Enterprise-Wide Capital Management in the Financial Condition Review (264 KB - PDF) section of the MD&A for more informaiton.

* Data is as at October 31, 2010 for Canadian banks and September 30, 2010 for U.S. banks.

182 years


Bank of Montreal has paid dividends for 182 years – the longest-running dividend payout record of any company in Canada.

Carbon Neutral* in 2010

Worldwide. We reached this goal by choosing video conferencing over travel, building more environmentally friendly branches, powering buildings with 100% renewable energy and purchasing high-quality carbon offsets that support community greening initiatives.

* Relative to energy consumption and transportation emissions

$9.6 million

Donated through Equity Through Education since 2005, helping visible minorities, people with disabilities, Aboriginals and women gain access to higher education.

Image of BMO employees discussing risk management

Managing Risk

Risk management at BMO is grounded in five key principles: accountability, transparency, process, governance and culture.

See the Enterprise-Wide Risk Management (548 KB - PDF) section of the MD&A for more information.

Contributions to the Community (corporate donations in Canada and the United States): 14% Federated Appeals (includes United Way), 33% Health Care, 22% Education, 13% Arts and Culture, 10% Civic and Community Initiatives, 8% Other