BMO sets $12 billion financing commitment towards Canadian affordable housing

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) says it will commit $12 billion to finance affordable housing over a 10-year period, supporting the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) aspiration that all Canadians have a home that they can afford and that meets their needs by 2030.

BMO’s commitment will support clients who finance the development or refurbishment of housing that meets accredited affordable housing definitions in regions across Canada, the bank said in a statement last Thursday. “This financing will help enable clients to purchase, develop, renovate and maintain affordable housing, social housing, community housing, shelters and housing for vulnerable populations,” the statement said.

“We’re proud to support CMHC’s vision while aligning strongly with BMO’s Purpose to Grow the Good by committing $12 billion to economic and social inclusion through affordable housing,” said Sharon Haward Laird, general counsel and co-chair of BMO’s Sustainability Council, BMO Financial Group.

“Investing in housing for all Canadians means removing barriers that exclude so many from a better life.” Part of BMO’s commitment will support the financing of affordable housing and infrastructure projects that increase access to housing and promote economic development for Indigenous Peoples, both on and offreserve.

“We are truly pleased to have BMO join us in our efforts to create a new generation of housing in Canada. Safe and affordable housing is a basic need to create a more inclusive society,” CMHC president and CEO Romy Bowers said in the news release.

“Governments alone cannot solve Canada’s housing challenges. The private sector also has a role to play in building strong, vibrant communities for all. I hope commitments such as this one from BMO today inspires more companies to help us achieve our goal of housing affordability for everyone living in Canada.”

BMO’s commitment will be managed by its Sustainable Finance Group, with eligible projects including lending, investing and underwriting solutions for retail, commercial and corporate clients involved in originating and funding affordable multifamily mortgages, as well as financing provided to affordable developments through BMO’s partnership with Options for Homes and other programs.

“Increasing access to affordable and quality housing aligns with BMO’s commitment to build a more inclusive society,” the BMO statement said. “This 10-year commitment enhances housing accessibility in Canada and aligns with the bank’s prioritization of affordable housing in the U.S. through its Community Reinvestment Act funding that includes community development investments, community development loans and mortgage loans.”

BMO says its Sustainable Finance Group brings together capabilities from across the bank to mobilize financing for a sustainable future. The Sustainable Finance Group is responsible for raising capital and providing finance for clients pursuing sustainable outcomes, offering advisory services, and managing BMO’s Impact Investment Fund.

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