As we continue to manage through the impacts of 2020 — the pandemic, an economic crisis, widespread social unrest and a contentious U.S. election — I am grateful for and inspired by how much we have accomplished as a company. While PNC has always looked out for the best interests of our stakeholders, we stepped up to last year’s crises in new and impactful ways.
Navigating unprecedented challenges from a position of strength, we were able to support our employees, customers and communities while also monetizing our passive stake in BlackRock and capitalizing on an attractive investment opportunity that will allow us to grow our franchise for years to come.
Our acquisition of BBVA USA will elevate us to the fifth-largest U.S. bank, with more than $560 billion in total assets and a presence in 29 of the country’s 30 largest markets. As we move through integration planning, we are looking closely at how we can expand our community commitments to drive positive impacts for all stakeholders, particularly in our new and underserved markets.
In the meantime, we will continue to move forward, focused on making the next right decision and fulfilling our obligations to our colleagues, our customers, our communities and our shareholders.
As a Main Street bank, we recognize that our success is directly proportional to the success of those we serve. To that end, we are committed to leveraging the power of our resources to help all move forward financially. This includes helping to make a positive difference for our customers, many of whom have experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
In response to last year’s economic fallout, 5,100 PNC employees stepped into new, temporary roles so that we could better support our customers. They waived fees, granted nearly $15 billion in loan modifications, and registered more than 70,000 small business loans worth approximately $13 billion through the first round of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). More than 14,500 of these PPP loans were made to borrowers located in low- or moderate-income areas, and more than 4,500 of the loans were made to nonprofit organizations.
Advancing our efforts to better serve customers, we just launched Low Cash ModeSM, a digital tool designed to address the $17 billion that U.S. consumers pay each year in overdraft fees. The tool enables us to offer unprecedented account transparency and payment control, which is true to our brand, will differentiate us in the market, and is consistent with our commitment to helping all move forward financially.
In addition, we continue to offer banking products and services to the unbanked and under-banked population. PNC’s Foundation Checking and SmartAccess® Prepaid Visa® Card have been especially critical during the pandemic and for those who have struggled to access stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. Both products meet the Bank On National Account Standards, which help ensure expanded access to safe and appropriate financial products and services to those outside the mainstream financial system.
These products have helped PNC maintain one of the highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in the financial services industry, indicating strong customer satisfaction and loyalty. They also have contributed to our “Outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating, which we’ve maintained for 44 consecutive years.
PNC’s “Outstanding” CRA rating also reflects our community support, which was particularly important in 2020. To help those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, our regional presidents and the PNC Foundation deployed $30 million in support of coronavirus relief efforts, primarily directed toward basic needs programs and hardship relief efforts throughout our markets.
In addition, we continued to invest in early childhood education through PNC Grow Up Great®, our $500 million philanthropic program that primarily supports children from low- and moderate-income families from birth to age 5.
In June 2020, PNC committed more than $1 billion to help end systemic racism and support the economic empowerment of Black Americans and low- to moderate-income communities. We are making significant progress on this commitment, which will come to life through education, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, and as of April 30, 2021, we have committed $160 million toward this pledge.
In connection with our acquisition of BBVA USA, PNC has announced a Community Benefits Plan through which the company will provide at least $88 billion in loans, investments and other financial support to benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, people and communities of color, and other underserved individuals and communities over a 4-year period beginning January 2022. We also formed Empowerment & Inclusion Capital I, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) focused on acquiring a diverse-led business or a business focused on promoting an inclusive economy and society. This SPAC is unique in that all proceeds from our sponsor interest will be donated to the PNC Foundation to support our ongoing efforts to help end systemic racism and drive economic empowerment for Black Americans and low- and moderate-income communities. In addition, we recently invested in Greenwood, a digital banking provider that is committed to advancing economic empowerment of minority and traditionally underserved communities and to promoting racial equity in financial services.
These efforts build upon our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, which is embedded in the organization from the very top to the front lines. We have the most diverse board and executive committee in our company’s history. Thirty-three percent of our independent board directors are gender diverse, and 25% are racially diverse. The majority of our executive committee members, all of whom report to me, are gender or racially diverse as well.
Our management of key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and opportunities, including climate change and sustainable finance, is equally important to our corporate responsibility efforts. In 2019, we formally endorsed the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and last year, we began to determine how to integrate those recommendations into our business operations. This year, we’re publishing our first TCFD report, which focuses on our risk management strategy related to climate change and includes the carbon intensity scores of different sectors across our portfolio.
Also in 2020, we named our first head of Sustainable Finance. This milestone builds on PNC’s inaugural Green Bond issuance in 2019 and adoption of the Green Bond Principles in 2016.
Our progress in this space will continue to be critical as we work to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and make a difference for our clients and other key stakeholders.
From the earliest days of the pandemic, PNC acted quickly to help ensure the health and safety of our employees. We implemented a work-from-home strategy for those whose jobs could be performed remotely and instituted safeguards for team members who must be onsite. We also expanded our mental health and childcare resources, among other benefits, to better support employees throughout the pandemic.
In response to the racial justice movement and increasing violence against Asian Americans, we have improved internal practices to promote racial equity in the workplace and intensified our focus on the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse talent. We also launched Listen, Learn, Act sessions to provide our employees with an opportunity to share their feedback on how we can be a more inclusive organization for all. This feedback is critical and will continue to help shape our decisions and actions moving forward.
The long-term success of these and other efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive company is dependent on our ability to uphold our core values, which is why we recently launched a new “Lives the Values” goal for all individual contributors. This goal builds on our Leadership Standards goal for managers and helps ensure that employees across the organization understand the ways that PNC’s values come to life in our day-to-day business decisions and behaviors
Notwithstanding continued challenges on many fronts, I have never been more confident in our ability to perform both in the short and the long term and to deliver increased shareholder value.
As we continue to execute on our strategic priorities, including our acquisition of BBVA USA, we recognize the growing expectations for increased transparency regarding everything from workplace diversity to climate-related financial risks. We are regularly engaging with and listening to our stakeholders so that we may continue to respond in a meaningful way.
As we move forward, we remain committed to being as transparent as possible and using what we learn to better look after our business, our employees, our clients, our communities and our environment. Thank you for your continued partnership. I’m proud of our progress and aware that the road ahead of us remains long. We’ll continue to need your help with understanding and responding to the important ESG and business issues that lie before us.
As always, I welcome your feedback on our progress and how we collectively can have a greater impact.