BMO Financial Group Corporate Responsibility Report and 2008 Public Accountability Statement Available



    TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - BMO Financial Group's Corporate Responsibility
Report and 2008 Public Accountability Statement is now available at
www.bmo.com/community. The Report provides information specific to the
organization's commitment to responsible and ethical corporate behaviour,
environmental sustainability and to its wide-ranging support of the
communities it serves.
    "Being a responsible corporation starts with setting accountabilities
toward our employees, our communities, our environment - and toward the people
we serve: our customers," said Bill Downe, President and CEO, BMO Financial
Group.
    "In 2008, we continued to invest in our neighbourhoods, towns and regions
and to support communities and thousands of charities and not-for-profit
organizations in Canada and the United States. Our commitment to helping meet
the needs of the many organizations and groups that make our communities
strong is part of the definition of who we are as a company - and something in
which all of us at BMO take great pride.
    "We have a long history of being there for our customers in good times
and bad. Our reputation for working with our business customers through the
economic cycles is something to which we attach great importance - so is being
the bank of choice for businesses across Canada. In fiscal 2008, we increased
our business debt financing by 13.2%, year-over-year, to $142 billion," said
Mr. Downe.
    BMO's investment in community takes us beyond financing and providing
financial support. As a responsible corporate citizen, we also support
financial literacy.

    
    -   Towards that end, BMO continues to be the official sponsor of The
        Learning Partnership's Entrepreneurial Adventure (EA) program, an
        experiential learning opportunity that brings students and teachers
        from kindergarten to grade 12 together with business partners to
        create ventures that benefit their local communities.

    -   BMO continues to improve the accessibility of our products and
        services in an increasingly diverse marketplace and through the
        different phases of the credit cycle.

    -   BMO introduced new services to assist students and first-time
        homebuyers including the BMO First Home Essentials kit, which was
        created as a step-by-step guide for first-time homebuyers. The kit
        includes helpful tips, worksheets, calculators and an online planning
        tool that helps prospective homebuyers understand and navigate
        comfortably through the entire home purchasing process.

    -   We continue to focus on providing small- and medium-sized businesses
        with the tools and resources they need to succeed. The Canadian
        Public Relations Society awarded a gold medal to BMO Bank of
        Montreal's Business Coach Podcast Series for the best use of internet
        and audio visual communications tools to help small business
        customers develop business plans and manage their cash flow
        efficiently.

    -   BMO also created a nationwide seminar program to help small business
        owners achieve their bottom line objectives and gain insights into
        longer-range challenges such as Succession Planning.

    -   BMO consistently responded to the needs of its customers; for
        example, we hosted a symposium to help Toronto's Chinese business
        community deal with the global financial crisis.
    

    Our commitment to help customers make sense of their financial lives -
and make better financial decisions - is clear.
    This year, as part of an effort to make a positive contribution to
environmental sustainability, BMO's Corporate Responsibility Report and 2008
Public Accountability Statement is exclusively available in electronic format.
To read more about BMO's corporate citizenship activities, please visit
www.bmo.com/community.





For further information:

For further information: For News Media Enquiries: Ralph Marranca,
Toronto, ralph.marranca@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,
laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596


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