Bank of Montreal is raising the minimum wage for its US branch and contact-center employees to US$20 an hour, its second such pay bump in less than a year, as companies fight for workers in a tight labor market.  

The increase from US$18 an hour takes effect Aug. 7, the Toronto-based bank said in a statement Monday. The boost applies to current full- and part-time workers as well as new hires.

Financial institutions are increasing pay for frontline workers to attract and retain staff as labor markets in Canada and the US hover near historically tight levels. US employers added more jobs in June than forecast, and the unemployment rate held near a five-year low.

In October, Bank of Montreal raised its US workers’ minimum hourly base pay 20 per cent to US$18 an hour. The company also raised base pay for a majority of its workers -- including those affected by the latest increase -- by 3 per cent in June. 

Bank of Montreal “continues to monitor and will adjust compensation accordingly to align with the shifting banking market,” it said in Monday’s statement.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said last month that it was boosting its minimum wage and pledged to push it even higher in the next few years. The lender’s minimum wage will rise to $20 per hour in Canada and US$20 in the US in July, and the bank committed to increasing those figures to $25 and US$25 respectively by the end of 2025.