BMO MasterCard Launches First Affinity Card in Canada to Support
'New-to-Canada' Professionals in Chinese Canadian Community

Affinity arrangement with Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) will help professional newcomers to Canada access essential credit

    
    -   CPAC is the largest Chinese professionals association in Canada
    -   Affinity arrangement represents a further demonstration of BMO's
        ongoing support and commitment to the Chinese community
    

TORONTO, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - BMO Bank of Montreal announced today that it will launch a new MasterCard on January 25 that will help members of the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) establish credit in Canada. The BMO CPAC MasterCard will also designate a percentage of the value of the card's transactions to support CPAC programs that help its members successfully establish themselves and their families in Canada.

The Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) was founded in 1992 with the objective of serving and representing the interests of professionals who are new to Canada. CPAC is now the largest Chinese professionals association in Canada.

BMO is the only financial institution in Canada to establish this kind of partnership with the Chinese community. No other financial institution in Canada has an affinity card that reaches out specifically to the Asian community.

"Every year more than 200,000 newcomers choose Canada as their home and the largest percentage of newcomers are from Mainland China," said Nancy Marescotti, Director, Card Marketing, BMO Bank of Montreal. "This exclusive affinity arrangement with CPAC demonstrates BMO's commitment to the Chinese community and to helping professional newcomers establish the credit they need to get a solid head start in their new country."

"The Chinese Professionals Association of Canada is proud to work with BMO Bank of Montreal on this first-of-its-kind affinity program, which expands the scope of services available to our members and will help members more readily and effectively meet their credit card needs," said Howard Shen, President, CPAC. "Through this arrangement BMO and CPAC can promote both organizations' names and brands in the local community, and, as the affinity partner, CPAC will use the revenue stream to develop new programs and to support existing programs such as newcomer career programs, professional mentoring and support, the CPAC Professional Achievement Award and to support our Education Foundation for scholarships to students."

Ms. Marescotti said the BMO CPAC MasterCard will serve as a lead product to introduce CPAC members to BMO and to other financial solutions. "This arrangement will give BMO high visibility amongst the largest Chinese professionals association in Canada and provides us with unique ways to help these new Canadians."

"As Canada's first bank, BMO has a long and proud history of providing support to newcomers from China," said Adrian Cheung, Director, Multicultural Markets, Greater Toronto Area, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Many of our community branches are staffed with employees who are fluent in Chinese and who can offer financial solutions that we have specifically designed to help newcomers fulfill their personal and financial dreams. Our Direct Banking services and ABMs have Chinese language services as well.

"The CPAC will work with BMO, helping us bridge any language barriers, and we will be designating a number of key Asian branches to support and guide CPAC members through the credit application process," said Mr. Cheung.

As an additional demonstration of the Bank's support for the Chinese community, Mr. Cheung noted that BMO recently held a symposium - An Economic Outlook and Path to Success for New Canadians - which attracted more than 250 attendees. The event was just another way the bank welcomes new Chinese customers and provides information and tools to help them make sense of the relevant financial matters that they will need to manage as they embark upon their new life in Canada.

The Chinese population in Canada numbers more than 1,000,000.

Mr. Cheung said BMO will have a presence on CPAC's web site, which will feature a direct link to the Bank's application site, and the bank will enhance its visibility through marketing materials placed in CPAC offices and all new-member welcome packages. BMO will also connect with members through association publications and regular e-news communications. Applications for the new BMO CPAC MasterCard can also be completed at any BMO branch across Canada.

Mr. Cheung also noted that BMO is the only major Canadian financial institution to have branches in China, which he said gives the bank a unique opportunity to support newcomers to Canada and those planning to emigrate or do business in Canada.

"We have been providing advisory services on Canadian banking to immigrants from Hong Kong and mainland China for more than 25 years," said Mr. Cheung.

About BMO CPAC MasterCard

The BMO CPAC MasterCard can be used anywhere in the world where MasterCard is accepted and will offer all of the features of a regular BMO MasterCard including the ability to earn rewards on card purchases. Customers can choose either the Gold AIR MILES MasterCard ($99 annual fee) or the No Fee AIR MILES MasterCard. They also have the option of choosing to earn CashBack on their purchases. Existing BMO MasterCard customers can easily transfer their current BMO MasterCard to the BMO CPAC MasterCard and maintain all of the same features and benefits.

ABOUT CPAC

The Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) is a federally registered, not-for-profit organization which was founded in 1992 and currently has more than 25,000 members. The main objective of CPAC is to serve and be an advocate for immigrant professionals of Chinese descent.

CPAC's mandate is:

    
    -   To represent and assist professionals of Chinese descent in gaining
        recognition, cultural integration, career advancement, and civic
        engagement in Canadian society through quality service and advocacy;

    -   To provide opportunities for interaction and networking among Chinese
        Canadian professionals;

    -   To help members integrate and contribute to Canadian society;

    -   To facilitate members' career and professional development;

    -   To provide training, employment, settlement, education, cultural and
        recreational services to internationally trained professionals and
        families;

    -   To be a national voice and representative of the Chinese Canadian
        community.
    

CPAC plays an increasingly important role in the Canadian multicultural society by participating in government consultations, various conferences, social and cultural events, charity activities and community services.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE BMO BANK OF MONTREAL

For further information: For further information: Media Relations Enquiries: BMO Bank of Montreal: Ralph Marranca, Toronto, ralph.marranca@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Ron Monet, Montreal, ronald.monet@bmo.com, (514) 877-1873; Laurie Grant, Vancouver, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596; Investor Relations Enquiries: Stephen Bonin, Toronto, steven.bonin@bmo.com, (416) 867-5452; Internet: www.bmo.com; Chinese Professionals Association of Canada: Richard Zhang, Toronto, rzhang@chineseprofessionals.ca, Tel: (416) 298-7885 ext. 116, Fax: (416) 298-0068; Internet: www.chineseprofessionals.ca


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