It’s often said that change is the only constant, and right now, it feels as though the pace of change is rapidly accelerating.
As a business, we respond to change by evolving and adapting while building flexible plans for the future, and we do so with a renewed sense of optimism. That’s because throughout the uncertainty of the past few years, one constant has been the strength, resilience and spirit of PNC. Through this, I’m shown yet again that what makes us different makes us stronger.
One of the differences I’m most proud of is PNC’s approach to relationships with our customers, communities, employees and shareholders. We have the size to rival the country’s largest global banks, but we’re deeply rooted in the communities throughout our 54 markets. We are now present from coast to coast, yet we remain your Main Street Bank. And this commitment will remain, no matter how large we become.
With the integration of BBVA USA in 2021, we expanded our presence across U.S. markets, and we want to be the best partner we can be to our new communities and customers. With that in mind, we held 10 virtual listening sessions to learn what our stakeholders expect from a large bank that wants to be part of their community. They talked, we listened and we committed. In fact, our CEO, Bill Demchak, attended several of these listening sessions to let stakeholders know that PNC means business — and we will live up to our commitments.
Through those listening sessions, we developed our $88 billion Community Benefits Plan, which will benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) people and neighborhoods, as well as people and communities of color, over a four-year period. Kicking off in January 2022, the plan encompasses our previously announced commitment to challenge systemic racism and expands that pledge to more than $1.5 billion.
The Community Benefits Plan largely comes to life through our Community Development Banking group, whose work supports wealth creation within historically underserved communities through financial education, access to home mortgages and credit, workforce development initiatives, and neighborhood revitalization. Our Community Development Banking team is now led by Rey Ocañas. Rey builds on the successes of his predecessor, Cathy Niederberger, who for more than 13 years led initiatives that helped boost quality of life in LMI neighborhoods across our markets.
Through PNC Grow Up Great, we continue to emphasize the importance of high-quality early learning opportunities, particularly for children in LMI communities. In 2021, more than $15 million in PNC Foundation grants focused on early childhood education, which is more vital than ever as studies show that learning disruptions and school closures disproportionately impact disadvantaged children. As part of this commitment, PNC Grow Up Great funded research to provide early childhood education administrators, experts, families and government officials with insights into opportunities to shape policies and tailor resources to address challenges brought on by pandemic-related learning loss.
In addition to its effect on children and learning, the economic challenges caused by the pandemic continue to highlight the deep, systemic financial and health inequities that disproportionately affect communities of color. We are making progress toward our $1 billion commitment, first announced in 2020, to combat systemic racism by promoting social justice and supporting the economic empowerment of Black Americans and LMI communities. Included in this commitment is an additional $50 million in philanthropic support for racial and social justice focusing on entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and education.
In 2021, as part of our racial and social justice support, we committed $35 million in grants to support programs in communities nationwide. Approximately $20 million of this was committed to the work of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including our $16.8 million grant to establish the Howard University and PNC National Center for Entrepreneurship. Aimed at building resources and support for Black business owners across the country, the Center will support expanded opportunities for Black entrepreneurship with enhanced educational, leadership, and capacity-building resources and programs nationwide.
Looking inward, PNC is also making progress on our workforce diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. We’ve embedded additional accountability measures and feedback channels throughout all levels of our organization. In 2021, we began the “Act” phase of our Listen, Learn, Act program, which was developed at the suggestion of members of our Black Leaders Forum. The Act phase focuses on three pillars — build acumen, challenge norms and seek transparency — to develop inclusive behaviors across all levels of our organization. We launched initiatives to encourage employees to demonstrate these pillars, including a podcast and several training programs.
We welcomed Gina Coleman as PNC’s chief diversity officer. Succeeding Marsha Jones, whose leadership over the past decade has been invaluable, Gina will help to develop strategies that allow us to build and sustain a talented, diverse workforce.
We are also raising our ambitions and efforts in the area of climate change. We strive to be good stewards of the environment, not only because it is the right thing to do but because it is essential to supporting a high quality of life for our employees, customers and communities. In 2021, we published our first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Report, which describes PNC’s climate change strategy. We also committed to measuring and disclosing financed emissions by joining the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), and we committed to mobilizing $20 billion in environmental finance.
In recent months, PNC formalized our “4+1” Climate Action Strategy for financing the transition to the low-carbon economy. We’re already making progress in the four priority areas: engaging our employees, collaborating for long-term solutions, understanding and supporting our customers’ transition plans, and executing on ambitious operational sustainability goals. We’re also beginning the work necessary to execute on the fifth area: aligning our portfolio with the emissions reduction goals of the Paris Agreement. Our approach will be iterative and flexible, with specific, quantifiable goals set in three- to five-year increments. We recognize that we still have much to do and remain focused on evolving our strategy to respond to environmental challenges, allowing for necessary course corrections for developments in the regulatory, political and technological arenas as we go.
I am proud of our efforts from the last year and excited to find new opportunities to create a positive, lasting impact for our customers, communities, employees and shareholders.
The content in PNC’s corporate responsibility materials, including our Corporate Responsibility Reports and Newsletters, is accurate as of the date of each such report. Updates or changes to any of our corporate responsibility materials will be reflected in the online version of such report, which can be found at www.pnc.com/csr. Our corporate responsibility materials should be read in conjunction with PNC’s then current Annual Report and Proxy Statement, both of which contain additional information about our company. Our corporate responsibility materials use certain terms, including those that the GRI sustainability reporting guidelines refer to as "Material topics," to reflect the issues of the greatest importance to PNC and our stakeholders. Used in this context, these terms should not be confused with the terms "material" or "materiality," as defined by or construed in accordance with securities law, or as used in the context of financial statements and financial reporting. Furthermore, any forward-looking statements contained in our corporate responsibility materials should not be unduly relied upon, as actual results could differ materially from expectations. For more information about such statements, please refer to the "Forward-Looking Statements" and "Risk Factors" sections of our latest Form 10-K in PNC’s Annual Report, as updated or supplemented by our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be found at www.pnc.com/investorrelations.
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