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Nature Fresh Farms is working with BMO to make banking accessible for employees

May 27, 2020 | COVID response, Culture

“It’s great to have a long-term partner who will work with you to help find solutions to unprecedented problems,” says John Ketler, Vice President of Nature Fresh Farms. “Especially in times like this.”

BMO recently collaborated with Nature Fresh Farms to make banking more accessible to their employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic by installing an ATM at one of their farms. With social distancing and business restrictions in place, people who work at the farm are primarily leaving their residences for necessary errands only. The onsite ATM helps to reduce employees’ trips to the bank.

As one of the largest independent greenhouse vegetable farms in North America, and a supplier to major food chains like Costco, Loblaws and Walmart, Nature Fresh Farm’s work is essential to maintaining the food supply – and keeping their workers safe is a top priority.

Nature Fresh has been banking with BMO for more than ten years. And in fact, many of its employees already had BMO accounts – making it even easier for them to do their banking at the new ATM. “When our CFO Dave Hildebrandt reached out to BMO, it was something new for them,” says John. “But they were eager to help us in these challenging times.”

BMO is the first bank in North America to set up a solution like this. We have a longstanding commitment to agribusiness, and during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever for us to support our clients in this essential sector. “Agriculture is a vital part of the Canadian economy,” says Roy Dias, Head, Specialized Industries, BMO. “We saw an opportunity to help Nature Fresh Farms bring everyday banking services to their team members – helping both their employees and the community.”

“Throughout this pandemic, we have been looking for ways to make things more convenient for our workers – to give them the option to avoid travel to town for necessities,” says John. “This has included bringing vendors onsite, some of whom, due to the rapid onset of restrictions, are not set up for debit transactions. Providing access to necessary cash onsite is conducive to purchasing between employees and vendors.”

The new ATM has been very well received, with employees happy to have a convenient means of doing their banking. This is just one of many measures taken by the company to make essential services more accessible to their employees and minimize any additional risks from offsite traveling. The farm also brought in representatives from financial institutions to safely help workers complete financial transactions. And they’ve invited approved vendors onsite to make groceries and prepared food easily accessible – often bringing farm employees a taste of the flavours they enjoy at home.

BMO is now looking into setting up an ATM at a farm in Nova Scotia. It’s all about finding innovative ways to help during an unpredictable time. “Part of our purpose as an organization is to drive positive change,” says Roy. “We will always look for ways to help, as we navigate this environment together.”

During these unprecedented times, BMO is living its Purpose, Boldly Grow the Good – in business and life, and going above and beyond to help those who are being affected by COVID-19. Learn more about how employees are reaching out to their communities.

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