New banking environment is designed to bring together advice-based services and the latest in digital experiences

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Mario Toneguzzi on BMO launching smart branchesBMO Bank of Montreal is launching a new format in Canada.

The bank has opened its first two Smart Branches in Alberta – in Edmonton at Whyte Avenue and 104th Street and in Calgary on Shaganappi Trail.

BMO said the new branch formats, which have also been introduced in the U.S. by BMO, provide a new and engaging banking environment that brings together advice-based services and the latest in digital experiences.

“Our customers’ expectations are changing, and the need for efficient and digitally driven day-to-day banking experiences continues to increase,” said Susan Brown, senior vice-president for Alberta and Northwest Territories Division at BMO Bank of Montreal, in a statement.

“Our customers now have the option to handle simpler transactions on their own, while also benefiting from the assistance of branch staff for more complex financial needs such as mortgages and investment products. Smart Branches conveniently provide both of these options in a single location.”

She said the new Smart Branches are located in areas where demand for branch level service is growing, and that both locations present a great opportunity for BMO to modernize the in-branch experience.

According to BMO, Smart Branches include:

  • smaller square footage and an open concept design without service lineups or teller counters – creating an environment where customers can have more relaxed and open conversations about their financial needs;
  • Self-Check-in Hubs, which alert branch staff via instant message when a customer arrives for an appointment, including the specific reason – making the experience more convenient and less time consuming for customers;
  • ATMs that offer the option of selecting money denomination when withdrawing funds;
  • bankers equipped with laptops and tablets to help customers with the new bank technology and provide assistance with their financial needs;
  • free Wi-Fi for customers.

BMO is the eighth largest bank by assets in North America with total assets of $744 billion as of April 30. It reaches more than 12 million customers.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


bmo smart branchesThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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