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BMO wins 2024 Celent Model Bank Award for Integration Excellence for Bank of the West Conversion

March 21, 2024 | Recognition

Accolades continue for BMO’s historic conversion of Bank of the West’s (BOTW) two million customers, thousands of employees and hundreds of applications in the largest conversion in Canadian banking history.

The Celent Model Bank Award is an honour bestowed by Celent to a financial institution and recognizes best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

The Technology & Operations Mergers and Acquisitions team, along with the U.S. Personal & Business Banking Digital team, as well as many other groups and workstreams at the bank, employed a comprehensive digital first and customer-centric approach to covert BOTW customers, employees, data, and technology as part of the overall integration.

“A Digital-First model is critical to remain at the forefront of digitization across the bank and our client experiences. Digital is the way we operate every part of the business, to drive efficiencies and free up more human capacity to do what we do best: give expert advice. Customers benefit from the greater convenience, speed, scale, and product options across our U.S. footprint with offices in 32 states, including more than 1,000 branches and fee-free access for debit cards at over 42,000 ATMs.”

– Mahen Namaswayan
Head, Technology and Operations Mergers and Acquisitions, BMO

Judges score and select winners based on three core criteria: demonstrable business benefits of live initiatives; the degree of innovation relative to the industry; and the technology or implementation excellence.  

The award also recognizes the extraordinary efforts and BMO’s best practices in migration and onboarding of the new customer base within a brief period and exemplary customer service before and after the transition.

“BMO’s successful integration over Labor Day Weekend was a critical part of our U.S. growth strategy, and our teams worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition for both our customers and colleagues in the communities we serve. BMO’s Digital-First strategy drives this success and is at the center of our ambitious five-year strategy, including significant investments in technology capabilities to help make real financial progress for our customers, unlock the power of our people and deliver loyalty, growth and efficiency, all aligned with our commitment to a thriving economy, a sustainable future, and an inclusive society.”

– Brianna Elsass
Head, U.S. Digital Servicing and Technology, BMO

Celent previously recognized BMO in 2023 with the Model Bank Award for Retail Digital Banking Transformation and the Model Bank Award for Customer Financial Resilience.  For more information on the Celent Model Bank Awards, visit the Celent Awards website.

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