Truist Financial Corporation has laid out plans to improve the diversity of its workforce in its first corporate social responsibility (CSR) report since the merger of BB&T and SunTrust last year.
The $504 billion banking giant pledged to increase the proportion of “racially and ethnically diverse employees” in senior leadership positions from 12% to 15% within three years.
Truist’s CSR report also committed the company to carry out “ongoing pay equity reviews” on a regular basis.
It said the changes reflected “heightened expectations” from the workforce and from customers following the merger. Truist is now the sixth largest bank in the US by assets, as of June 30, 2020.
“Our teammates expect us to be the leader in the financial services industry – with better pay, competitive benefits, and a steadfast focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the CSR report stated.
Truist highlighted that 45% of its board of directors was “racially, ethnically or gender diverse” already, with women holding key leadership positions including chairing three of the board’s six committees.
Truist chief legal officer and head of enterprise diversity Ellen Fitzsimmons said: “We are particularly focused on looking inward and doing our part to advance equity and economic empowerment through greater visibility and accountability.”
The CSR report also highlighted that the communities in which Truist operates “expect us to play a larger role in community development and investment”, including through philanthropic activities and supporting small and minority-owned businesses.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Truist launched Truist Cares, a philanthropic fund providing substantial support to staff, clients and communities. Support included $50 million in small business support and connective technology, and nearly $100 million in Covid-19 support for staff.
The bank also pledged to lend or invest $60 billion to low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers and in LMI communities over a three-year period from 2020 to 2022.
Banks across the US have been taking action in recent months to address inequality in their communities and within their businesses.
US Bank has pledged to invest in and support the local communities in which it operates, including providing $100 million a year to African-American owned and led businesses or organizations. It also pledged to make changes to its talent management strategy to “develop and promote” people of color to senior roles.
Bank leaders from HSBC USA, BNY Mellon, Hancock Whitney, and USAA all made strong statements in June pledging support for minority staff, customers and communities, while also promising action to address diversity issues, amid protests against the killing of George Floyd and the deaths of other black people at the hands of police.