WASHINGTON — The American Bankers Association has recognized six banks for their outstanding leadership by honoring them with the 2013 ABA Community Commitment Award. The awards were presented in categories ranging from affordable housing to economic development, and expanded to include a sixth category for sustainable banking. Winners were announced today at ABA’s Annual Convention in New Orleans (http://youtu.be/wH5scCJquZE).
The ABA selection committee chose six banks from a record-high field of more than 150 nominations based on the creativity and thoughtfulness of programs—traditional or innovative in nature and structure—that embody the ideals of corporate social responsibility and demonstrate success in measurable terms.
“This year’s winners exemplify the mission of the Community Commitment Awards,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO. “It’s not about how large your bank is but how large of an impact you can make in your community.”
The 2013 award winners for extraordinary work are:
- Affordable Housing
FirstMerit Bank, Akron, Ohio for its program, Moon-Mallison Homes, an affordable housing development located approximately one mile west of downtown Akron, Ohio. The development includes 30 single family homes in a neighborhood in which approximately 50 percent of existing homes were vacant. With redevelopment going on in surrounding neighborhoods, Moon-Mallison homes helped fill the gap and bring stabilization to the greater area. FirstMerit provided construction and permanent financing for the project which provided housing, jobs and new tax revenue for the city of Akron and its residents.
- Economic Development
Claremont Savings Bank, Claremont, N.H. for its work in creating the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center. New members are joining every day and experimenting with what Claremont Parks and Recreation can offer even outside of the Community Center walls. The center is economically sustainable and costs the city nothing to operate. Having this state-of-the art building increases property values and brings people to Claremont to shop downtown, to walk, hike, and congregate in their parks.
- Small Business Lending
Standard Bank & Trust Co., Hickory Hills, Ill. for its Micro Loan Product to help small businesses grow. Knowing that it is difficult to find lenders who offer an unsecured small business loan product, Standard Bank created this program to provide unsecured credit facilities in the $500-$5,000 range to qualified small business owners; guide small business owners through the process of obtaining and maintaining credit; foster a profitable, long-term customer relationship; and advocate for women-owned and minority-owned businesses.
- Financial Education
Finance and Thrift Co., Porterville, Calif. for its unique delivery system for the FDIC’s MoneySmart program. Finance & Thrift has worked with local school districts, community groups, and nonprofit organizations to provide financial literacy classes. The bank also has recurring engagements on several school curriculums. Since Finance and Thrift began holding Money Smart workshops, they have provided financial literacy education to over 5,000 youths and adults in our market areas.
- Volunteerism and Philanthropy
Liberty Bank, Middletown, Conn. for its Summer Youth Employment Collaborative Grants program, through which the Liberty Bank Foundation set out on a search for partners to help fund summer youth employment programs operated by the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board for low-income youth in Middletown and eastern Connecticut. By reaching out to other businesses, foundations, and the city of Middletown, over $30,000 was raised in Middletown, and the number of youth employed rose from 30 to 80. In southeastern Connecticut, five funders contributed $25,000, raising the total number of youth employed from 340 to 422. In 2013, funders came together again, and new partners joined them. A total of $52,500 was donated in southeastern Connecticut, and $50,000 in Middletown.
- Sustainable Banking
PeoplesBank, Holyoke, Mass. for its Banking on the Environment program, which has built three LEED® registered branches, installing EV charging stations, financing more than $60 million in wind, solar, and hydroelectric energy projects, as well as hosting farmers’ markets and e-recycling days.
The ABA Community Commitment Awards are a successor program to the ABA Community Bank Awards, and has evolved to recognize the entire industry’s efforts in communities across the country.
The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation’s $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees The majority of ABA’s members are banks with less than 4185 million in assets. Learn more at aba.com.