The American Bankers Association Foundation today named eight banks as 2023 Community Commitment Award winners. The annual awards recognize banks for extraordinary corporate social responsibility efforts in seven specific categories ranging from affordable housing to economic inclusion. The winners will be recognized at ABA’s Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 10.
The selection committee, made up of independent, national experts in each category, reviewed bank nominations from across the country and chose winners based on specific criteria including the creativity and thoughtfulness of the bank program. Community Commitment Award winners must embody the ideals of corporate social responsibility and demonstrate success in measurable terms.
“I am continually amazed and proud of the work America’s banks do to support communities nationwide,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “The efforts of the banks recognized this year have changed the lives of many and showcase the very best our industry has to offer. I hope other institutions will join me in applauding their good work and duplicating it where possible.”
The 2023 award winners by category are:
- Dollar Bank, Pittsburgh, for its The Way Home program. The program offers first-time, low-to moderate-income homebuyers with free one-on-one credit counseling, down payment and closing cost assistance, and a shelf loan without a credit score requirement called “Rent No More.” Formerly known as “Mortgages to Mothers,” the program has had more than 9,000 applicants in 20 years. It has provided more than 700 hours of credit counseling, 800 hours of financial literacy and more than 200 loans to approximately 3,000 low-to moderate- income individuals since 2021.
Community and Economic Development
- United Bank, Vienna, Va. for its Power of Partnership program. The program, which works alongside Jubilee Housing, focuses on maintaining the affordability of houses in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods and slowing or reversing the displacement of low-to moderate-income families. Through the partnership, Jubilee Housing has preserved and/or developed 484 units of affordable housing and created 24,333 square feet of commercial space for businesses dedicated to serving low-income households. More than $75 million has been invested through 23 loans over the past 20 years, all within less than two square miles.
- Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio, for its Lift Local Business Program. Through this program, Huntington National Bank has offered more than $70 million in loans to more than 1,000 minority-, women- and veteran-owned under-resourced small businesses. These loans have worked to reduce the wealth disparity and capital barriers that these small business owners and communities often face. The program helps support owners and entrepreneurs through the business process of start-up to expansion by providing loans, planning support and free training.
- Bank of Guam, Hagåtña, Guam, for its Bank of Guam Financial Empowerment Program. As a part of the program, bank staff have led more than 1,000 community financial education presentations on a range of topics including basic financial literacy, debt management, wealth accumulation and asset building, and small business development. These sessions aim to provide education and support to the most vulnerable, including students from low-income communities, non-profit organizations serving battered women and reformed prisoners, those with disabilities, and more. Program efforts have reached more than 15,000 high school students, 3,000 young children and more than 5,000 adults.
Protecting Older Americans
- The Cooperative Bank, Roslindale, Mass. for its Carefull Program. Through a partnership with Carefull, a new innovative tool that helps coordinate the daily finances of older Americans, the Cooperative Bank has helped protect seniors from scams, fraud and other monetary mistakes. The platform analyzes older adults’ checking, savings and credit card accounts looking for late or missed payments, unusual changes in behavior and banking activity, and other red flags that can impact their finances. Users and their caregivers are alerted if fraud or concerning activity is detected.
Supporting Military Families
- Fulton Bank, Lancaster, Penn. for its Fulton Bank Military Internship program. The program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a six-month internship that helps veterans transition from military service to the civilian workforce with on-the-job training in the financial services industry. Upon completion of the internship, the program provides job search support both within Fulton and throughout the banking industry. Since the program’s launch in 2019, Fulton Bank has worked with more than 168 veteran interns and hired 42 of them for full-time positions.
- Wells Fargo, San Antonio, for its Military Talent Strategic Sourcing program. In an effort to increase the number of veterans hired at Wells Fargo, the program consists of Military Talent Liaisons specially trained to recruit, counsel and advocate for them during their application process. These liaisons also help job seeking veterans develop transition strategies, build their resume, analyze their skills and practice for interviews.
- Comerica Bank, Dallas, for its Comerica Cares program. The corporate-wide program encourages full-time employees to participate in eight hours of paid time off volunteer work and four hours for part-time employees. During 2022, the program exceeded more than 66,000 volunteer hours and nearly $2 million in donated time. The program has helped develop stronger relationships between the bank and community members they serve.
“These eight winning programs exemplify the transformational impact that banks can have in the communities they serve,” said Lindsay Torrico, executive director, ABA Foundation. “All of these initiatives required dedication and commitment from bank leadership and the employees involved. We’re pleased to have this opportunity to shine a light on their efforts to drive community and economic change.”
As a part of the annual Community Commitment Award program, the ABA Foundation also honors an individual banker with the George Bailey Distinguished Service Award. The award is given to a non-CEO bank employee who demonstrates outstanding initiative, commitment to their customers and community, and the ability to inspire others. This year’s George Bailey Award winner is Paola Fernandez of Centreville Bank in Rhode Island. Fernandez will also be recognized at ABA’s Annual Convention on Oct. 10 in Nashville, Tenn.
All nominations for this year’s Community Commitment Awards will be added to the ABA Foundation’s Banks in their Communities searchable database that showcases the corporate social responsibility efforts of banks of all sizes across the country and allows users to search and view program profiles. Winning and honorable mention entries are also included.