As I write this letter, we find ourselves in a place and time unlike any I can remember in all my years in banking. The competitive landscape is changing. The regulatory environment is evolving. Confidence in the direction of the economy appears to be growing. Business leaders are cautiously optimistic about talk of pro-growth policies that may be advanced by the new administration in Washington. Yet each week seems to be defined by the dissent and demonstrations of citizens in communities all across our country who fear for our future.
This moment is full of opportunity. At the same time, our commitments to our values and to doing what is right for all of those that we serve - our neighbors in the communities where we do business, our customers, our employees and our shareholders - have never been more important.
As a Main Street bank, we wear many hats for the various constituencies that we serve, and we are dedicated to serving all of them well. In 2016, we took important steps to deliver a better, more convenient, more satisfying banking experience for every customer. We introduced benefits enhancements, including more paid leave for new parents, to make PNC an even better place to work for our 52,000 employees. We supported the communities in which we operate through grants, volunteerism, sponsorship of arts and cultural organizations, and our robust community development banking program. We continued our leadership in green building. And, while our 2016 net income slightly lagged that of the previous year, we positioned ourselves to continue creating long-term value for our shareholders by holding to our disciplined approach to risk management and not chasing short-term gains at the expense of our long-term opportunities.
This past year saw negative headlines about our industry as regulatory fines were levied against a competitor for alleged behaviors related to sales practices that adversely affected millions of their customers. At PNC, we have reviewed our sales and incentive programs to ensure that the interests of our employees are aligned with those of our customers. We work constantly to make sure our employees understand the importance of doing what is right for our customers, even beyond what is legally required. And we have created numerous channels by which employees are encouraged to raise questions or concerns in our company.
But we also recognize that no organization our size can realistically promise perfection. So, we must instead be perfectly committed to pursuing the highest standard of ethical business practices and risk management to keep our mistakes to a minimum and to do everything in our power to identify and correct them promptly when they do occur.
In this section of our website, you will read about the many steps we've taken to put the customer at center stage and how that is influencing our product and service offerings as well as our ongoing investments in technology and innovation. You will find information about the relationships we continue to cultivate with our communities, from our signature philanthropic program - Grow Up Great - to the $1.8 billion we average each year in community development loans and investments. As you read, you will also find transparency about our governance practices, details about our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive performance-driven talent culture, and continued developments around our dedication to environmentally friendly business practices.
This section of our website outlines how we organize our business around the customers and communities we serve; it's what makes PNC a Main Street bank. And our commitment to corporate social responsibility is the very embodiment of a philosophy that shapes every decision that impacts our customers, communities, employees and shareholders. By doing business with integrity, doing what is right by the people that we serve and looking out for the best interests of all of our stakeholders, we have created a culture that enables PNC - despite economic uncertainty, changes in the competitive environment and other challenges facing our industry - to thrive and grow.
Thank you for your interest in PNC.
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