Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer Marissa Weidner
Submitted by Webster Bank
What were some of the biggest achievements in 2022?
There is so much to be proud of as I think about our work this year. At the highest level, one of our most important accomplishments has been creating and supporting a culture where our mission and values guide our actions. That’s critical, because when your strategy and tactics are consistent with who you are as a company it’s much easier to embed that work into every area of your business.
The centerpiece this year was the launch of Webster's $6.5 billion Community Investment Strategy. Our three-year strategy addresses affordable housing and community development lending, support for minority- and women-owned small business, and philanthropy. This is a major commitment for our company, and it’s been wholeheartedly embraced and championed by Webster’s leadership. We’re deeply invested in this strategy, enabling loans, investments, technical assistance and financial services to individuals and small businesses across our footprint.
“This is a major commitment for our company, and it's been wholeheartedly embraced and championed by Webster leadership.”
How is Webster supporting communities?
Webster believes strongly in empowering people and strengthening communities by expanding access to capital. As part of our Community Investment Strategy, we’ve made several investments in programs that foster youth leadership and help build our future workforce. We are very proud of our Finance Lab collaborations in the Bronx, Yonkers, New York and most recently Bridgeport, Connecticut — furthering our commitment to provide students with a unique opportunity to learn about finance.
It's important to take time and understand the varied needs of our communities. We talked with more than 100 community organizations in developing our $6.5 billion Community Investment Strategy. We’ve also established Community Advisory Councils in our New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island/Massachusetts markets. These collaborations with local nonprofit organizations help us to strengthen meaningful community connections, and to set impactful short- and long-term goals.
How does Webster approach corporate sustainability?
Our corporate sustainability approach at Webster is closely tied to our mission and values: a strategic program clearly focused on positive social and environmental impact within an effective governance framework based on ethics and risk management. Responsible governance is the cornerstone of everything we do at Webster. Our Board continues to oversee our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts, with the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee having primary responsibility for coordination of that oversight. Our ESG Council is comprised of senior management across Webster, who meet quarterly.
The Office of Corporate Responsibility (OCR) manages all community-facing activities across the company, including Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Fair and Responsible Banking; Community Investment, Engagement and Philanthropy; Government Relations and Public Affairs; Supplier Diversity; and, of course, all environmental, social and governance efforts. Bringing all these together in one business unit allows us to plan more strategically, support the business goals more effectively and use our resources more efficiently.
Investors are also asking businesses for more consistent and relevant ESG information. This year, we have responded to stakeholder requests for expanded data-driven disclosures by performing a materiality assessment to inform our corporate responsibility reporting and strategy. The results of this assessment form the basis of our 2022 Report, including the decision to fully align with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards.
What are some new corporate responsibility initiatives for 2023?
As we continue to execute on our Community Investment Strategy, we’ll launch additional Finance Labs across the footprint and expand our Supplier Diversity program. We’re also planning to introduce a new signature initiative. These and other projects will help to strengthen the systems and organizations that drive shared prosperity and help reshape local economic and social structures.
Internally, we’ll continue working to ensure we live our culture, mission and values. In the coming months, we’ll be onboarding software tools to help us track and manage our community service programs, diverse suppliers and energy usage more effectively.
I’m also really excited about the time we’ve been spending developing our new, company-wide environmental, social and governance strategies focused on the intersection of our four pillars: Economic Vitality, Valuing our People, Our Environment and Responsible Governance. We look forward to sharing more soon.
To learn more about Webster Bank’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit our CR webpage.
For details about Webster Bank's 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report, visit here.
Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE:WBS) is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association and its HSA Bank Division. Webster is a leading commercial bank in the Northeast that provides a wide range of digital and traditional financial solutions across three differentiated lines of business: Commercial Banking, Consumer Banking and its HSA Bank division, one of the country's largest providers of employee benefits solutions. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Webster is a values-driven organization with $69.1 billion in assets. Its core footprint spans the northeastern U.S. from New York to Massachusetts, with certain businesses operating in extended geographies. Webster Bank is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender. For more information about Webster, including past press releases and the latest annual report, visit the Webster website at www.websterbank.com.
More from Webster Bank