BMO to open satellite branch at 4 Wing

Cliff Kenyon

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is coming to 4 Wing Cold Lake. A BMO banking machine has been installed at the CANEX building and a satellite advice-centre branch is to be opened in November occupying space to be renovated beside the Beehive Thrift Store.

The move is all part of the Canadian Defence Community Banking Program (CDCB) which was recently renewed through a long-term agreement.

“We are always looking for ways to give back to the community and support current and former troops and their families,” Alicia Abballe, Regional President, Alberta North and Northwest Territories, BMO Bank of Montreal, said in an interview with The Courier.

There is no Bank of Montreal branch in Cold Lake. To do their banking, customers have had to go to the next closest BMO branch which is in Lloydminster.

“It will be exciting for us to have a presence in Cold Lake,” said Abballe. “The CDCB Program offers products and services specifically designed to meet the needs of the defence community, such as discounted banking rates and the BMO Support Our Troops Mastercard.”

In 2008, with the approval of the Chief of Defence Staff and others, BMO and Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services teamed up to offer a discounted group banking program to members of the defence community and their families.

“As an organization, we are proud to support the members of the Canadian Defence Community. One of the things that makes our program unique is that we provide a holistic support model – from recruitment to retirement – and we look to help military families as well,” said Abballe.

There are several benefits for customers under the CDCB program such as: free banking, discount rates on mortgages and lines or credit and credit cards, which support Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services with every purchase made. The program benefits are exclusive to regular force personnel, reserves, recruits, military families, retirees as well as Department of National Defence and Staff of the Non-Public Funds civilian personnel, the RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard. BMO pays royalties to CFMWS each quarter. CFMWS uses the royalties to fund the Support Our Troops National Summer Camp Programs and more.

Abballe indicated that BMO has been working to support the military community – and its entire customer base – navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic. The bank introduced a number of relief programs providing payment deferrals on mortgages, loans, and lines of credit and a temporary reduction on interest rates on personal and small business credit cards.

The Lloydminster branch has remained open during the pandemic and, until recently, opening a new BMO account meant a trip to Lloydminster to sign documents and pick up bank cards.

“We recognize how important digital and online banking capabilities have become and, to help, we launched a web application that allows BMO and CDCB customers to sign forms without them having to come into a branch,” said Abballe. To ease any concerns around digital banking, BMO has also invested in solutions that help to keep customers safe when banking online or on the go including IBM Trusteer Rapport and OnGuard.

She said BMO is a military friendly employer with a dedicated website to help spouses or those in transition looking for work. Launched last year, the bank established a Veterans Advisory Council Enterprise Resource Group that supports employees who are Reservists, Retirees or Military Spouses move into the next stage of their professional life.

The bank is also currently running a Customer Appreciation Contest exclusively for the defence community with a grand prize of $20,000. If you open a new account before Oct. 12, you are automatically entered for a chance to win.

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