Wisconsin's largest bank holding company, Associated Bank, has released its 2021 environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, which further demonstrates its commitment to improving the economic health of its markets.
The report, which covers the period from January 1, 2021, through to December 31, 2021, highlights the Bank's ESG priorities, approach, and governance practices.
"Associated Bank's ESG efforts are foundational to everything we do," said Andy Harmening, president, and chief executive officer of Associated Bank.
He added: "We are intentional with our priorities and strive to deliver increasing, long-term value to all stakeholders – the customers we serve, our colleagues, and the communities where we live and work, and shareholders who place their trust in our performance."
Economic impact highlights include the provision of approximately $1.2 billion in residential loans to support low-to-moderate-income (LMI) and minority homeownership. In addition, Associated Bank granted $465 million in community development loans and investments to create affordable housing options, provide community services, and promote community development. And committed a further $324 million in loans to small businesses.
There is increased pressure on every business to prove their efficiency and effectiveness in ESG matters. According to a recent report from Signal AI, reputation and trust, of which ESG factors are a significant determinant, are leading aspects of financial performance.
Randy Erickson, general counsel and ESG committee chair at Associated, said: "We are proud of our accomplishments and appreciate the opportunity to share this comprehensive view of our progress. While environmental, social, and governance programming isn't anything new for Associated Bank, now we are focused on providing a more expansive view of our efforts."
In the past year, Associated Bank evolved its ESG reporting to align with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Financial institutions are increasingly prioritizing ESG offerings for their clients. Earlier this month, the U.S. Bank announced it would provide ESG Solutions to its Global Fund Services clients.