ESG Highlights Report
Environmental, Social & Governance Highlights
We remain true to our values and guiding principle: Do the right thing; for all our stakeholders, our communities, colleagues, clients and shareholders. In this spirit, I am pleased to present our inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) report to share the ongoing efforts of Banner teams working across our four-state footprint and to establish a benchmark on which you can hold us accountable as we strive to improve year over year.
I am particularly proud of the “outstanding” rating Banner Bank received from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluation in 2021. Awarded to only a small portion of all banks operating in the U.S., this rating acknowledges the work we do to support all our communities, including low- and moderate-income families and small businesses, in ways that are consistent with sound banking practices.
We are strengthened as a business by our highly diverse clientele, which ranges from family farms to complex corporations, grassroots non-profits to municipalities, and young families to retirees. In an ever more challenging economic, regulatory, and climatic environment, our objective is to be a steadfast financial partner to all of our clients.
Housing affordability remains a critical issue in western states, and you will see in this report how we increased our support for struggling communities in 2021 by providing a company record $433 million in community development financing supporting affordable housing. To address the divergence between sustainability and affordability for individual borrowers, we have launched new loan programs to make it easier for people with lower incomes to build and buy energy-efficient homes or upgrade their existing homes. And as we experience an array of extreme weather events, we remain committed to supporting homeowners impacted by flooding, fire and other natural disasters. In 2021, we issued zero-fee, zero-interest rate emergency loans totaling $893,000.
Behind the scenes, our employees quietly contribute to a broad variety of community projects that matter to them, and we offer up to 16 hours of paid time off per year for volunteer work. As we continue our commitment to being an employer of choice, we have added new parental leave benefits, introduced employee resource groups and continued our efforts to provide a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment.
We are in the process of calculating Banner’s carbon footprint and aim to be able to disclose our greenhouse emissions in 2023. Additionally, many geographies we serve are directly impacted by climate change, and we understand we must do our part to deploy sustainable means of service delivery such as digital banking and paperless statements. These efforts apply to our own business practices as well as our support of clients and communities affected by natural disasters.
Thank you to all Banner stakeholders for your continuing interest in, and commitment to, our organization. With steady, sustainable progress, I am confident Banner will continue to thrive for another 130 years. Still connected, knowledgeable and responsive; and still doing the right thing.