Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:25 pm
BMO Financial Group announced a financial relief program to assist customers affected by dry conditions throughout much of North America, including Wisconsin.
Record heat and lack of rain have been unforgiving in the U.S. Midwest this summer, leading to the worst drought the United States has seen in 56 years. Reports estimate that as of July 31, nearly two-thirds of the continental U.S. was experiencing some level of drought.
“Banks have a unique responsibility in the creation of economic prosperity. Society rightly expects that bankers will do the right thing and stand behind the people who put food on our tables,” said Bill Downe, president and chief executive officer of BMO Financial Group, the parent company of BMO Harris Bank. “For almost 200 years, we’ve earned the trust of farmers and become one of the largest agricultural lenders in North America – not just by working with them in good times, but by being there when it really counts.”
For many farmers, the rains of recent weeks came too late to save their crops.
“As one of the top 10 ag-banks in the United States, we at BMO Harris Bank believe it’s important to stand with our customers during these trying times,” said Sam Miller, managing director and group head of agriculture at BMO Harris Bank.
BMO is the largest agricultural lender in Wisconsin, according to company spokesman Patrick O’Herlihy.
Under the program, BMO customers can apply for: working capital assistance; deferral of loan payments; and other measures to assist farmers.