- BMO Harris will raise its minimum hourly wage to $20 starting Aug. 7, the bank announced Monday.
- It’s the second time in the past year the bank has raised the minimum wage for its full- and part-time branch and call center employees. BMO Harris raised its minimum hourly pay to $18 from $15 in October and said Monday it raised base pay for most of its employees by 3% in June.
- With the move, the Chicago-based U.S. arm of the Bank of Montreal looks to keep pace with its competitors on both sides of the border in an effort to draw or retain talent.
BMO “continues to monitor and will adjust compensation accordingly to align with the shifting banking market,” the bank said in a press release Monday.
“We know that caring for our colleagues first allows them to focus on helping our customers make real financial progress," Ernie Johannson, BMO’s group head of North American personal and business banking, said Monday. "Our dedicated frontline financial heroes bring BMO's Purpose to life every day, boldly growing the good for our customers and communities.”
A number of banks in the U.S. and Canada have raised their minimum wage — in both long- and short-term efforts — amid a tight labor market and in the face of cost-of-living increases accelerated by a swell in inflation.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Truist announced last week it would raise its companywide minimum hourly wage to $22 as of Oct. 1. From a talent retention standpoint, the move may help it keep pace with another Charlotte-headquartered bank, Bank of America, which bumped its minimum hourly wage to $22 in June — one of a number of incremental pay boosts the bank has instituted since pledging to give its lowest-paid workers $25 per hour by 2025.
Bank of America’s bottom-wage boosts have become an almost-yearly habit. The bank lifted its minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2017; $17 in 2019; $20 in 2020; and $21 in 2021. But it isn’t the only major lender to tie itself to the $25-by-2025 benchmark.
One of BMO’s Canadian competitors, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, committed to paying its Canadian workers at least C$25 per hour by that year — and its American workers $25 per hour in the same time frame. It launched the effort in June by bumping its minimum hourly wage to C$20 and $20, respectively, as of this month.
Back in the U.S., Wells Fargo raised its minimum wage from $18 to $22 last year, based on the location of the worker.
BMO’s last minimum-wage boost — from $15 per hour to $18 — came shortly after one of the U.S.’s leading regional banks, PNC, committed to the same boost.
BMO Harris’ recent policy shifts have kept an eye not only on its employees but its customer base. The bank in June pledged to trim — from $36 to $15 per occurrence — the overdraft fee it charges account holders, starting this fall. It also said it would eliminate overdraft transfer fees July 12 and non-sufficient funds fees Aug. 23.