The American Bankers Association Foundation named seven banks as 2022 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 Austin, Texas on Oct. 4.
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.
“As I reviewed this year’s winners and their programs, I felt an immense sense of pride for the creative and meaningful work America’s banks continue to undertake in communities across the country,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “We thank them for their incredible efforts and hope their stories inspire even more banks to consider similar programs in their communities.”
The 2022 award winners by category are:
- Bremer Bank, St. Paul, Minn. for its Home Loan Impact Fund in partnership with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. The Home Loan Impact Fund is the largest banking partnership of any Habitat affiliate nationwide. Through the partnership, Habitat originates mortgages for low- and moderate-income households, then sells the below-market mortgages to Bremer. Since the program launch in 2017, nearly 500 families have achieved affordable homeownership. In 2022, Bremer renewed the partnership, committing an additional $125 million over the next three years to help address the Twin Cities’ substantial homeownership gap.
Community and Economic Development
- Republic Bank & Trust, Louisville, Ky. for its Community Over Competition program. With the Republic Bank Foundation’s $150,000 gift, Executive Chair Steve Trager unified nine Kentucky banks, aligning competitors toward a common goal — funding the final $10 million in capital for the Louisville Urban League’s Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center. That $10 million loan has allowed for the completion of the Center and its doors to open.
- Wintrust Bank, N.A., Chicago for its North Lawndale Employment Network Branch Program. Wintrust partnered with North Lawndale Employment Network to open a sustainable branch at the community organization’s new headquarters — which includes a workforce training campus and financial education center — in North Lawndale, a Chicago neighborhood that historically sees little investment. In addition to making financial services such as deposit accounts, mortgages and business loans more accessible to underserved residents, the successful collaboration is helping to expand opportunities for long-term wealth and prosperity on the city’s West Side.
- First Commonwealth Bank, Indiana, Penn. for its FCB Financial Education program. First Commonwealth Bank uses its financial education programs to help achieve its mission of improving the financial lives of its neighbors and their businesses. The bank incorporates a blend of in-person and virtual classes to teach individuals of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds how to better manage, save, borrow, and protect their money. Since 2010, FCB has provided more than 4,300 financial education sessions to more than 93,000 participants and offers internal financial education to team members.
Protecting Older Americans
- Simmons Bank, Little Rock, Ark. for the SAFER AR Act. Simmons Bank Executive Vice President & Assistant General Counsel Steve Wade led associates and a task force of lawmakers and banking professionals to collaborate, research and draft SAFER AR Act (HB 1391). His leadership was instrumental in collaborating, researching, and drafting this law to provide protection to the elderly and people with disabilities. The SAFER AR Act gives financial institutions the authority to recognize, delay and report financial exploitation of senior citizens and people with disabilities in Arkansas.
Supporting Military Families
- F&M Bank, Clarksville, Tenn. for its OPERATION: Partners Serve 2.0. F&M Bank, along with a host of local, regional and national nonprofit organizations, continues to identify and meet the changing needs of those who strengthen our country and community through a unique initiative called Operation: Partners Serve 2.0. This ambitious endeavor disseminates resources to combat food insecurities that affect nearly one-third of military families. In addition, the bank provides knowledge to active-duty military, retirees and family members through financial education and personalized banking services.
- Pathward, N.A., Sioux Falls, S.D. for its Community Impact Program. The program aims to elevate the effectiveness and scope of corporate giving and employee volunteer activities. For employees, it includes paid time off for volunteering, and matching gift and dollars-for-doers programs. In FY21, engagement and participation rates exceeded expectations and that of other benchmarked organizations of comparable size.
“America’s banks continue to serve as real drivers of community change,” said Lindsay Torrico, executive director, ABA Foundation. “We’re proud to recognize these seven institutions and hope their good work will inspire others to engage in meaningful ways that create positive social impact.”
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 across the country and allows users to search and view program profiles. Winning and honorable mention entries are also included.
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 Lola Pol of Capital Bank in Rockville, Md. Pol will also be recognized at ABA’s Annual Convention on Oct. 4 in Austin.
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