Financial Inclusion and Capacity-Building at Truist

Financial Inclusion and Capacity-Building at Truist

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 10:00am

CONTENT: Article

Truist and the Truist Foundation are committed to creating opportunities for upward economic mobility in historically underserved communities. We’re accelerating the adoption and further integration of racial equity principles, as evidenced by our partnership and $7 million grant to Purpose Built Communities in 2020, to address the impacts of systemic racism through a holistic model to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty in neighborhoods across the U.S. This advances work to improve health outcomes, economic mobility, and racial equity in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Read more about the impact of Purpose Built Communities in the Diversity, equity, and inclusion chapter of this CSR and ESG Report. As part of our $60 billion Community Benefits Plan, Truist has: 

  • Dedicated approximately 50% of the mortgage target to home purchase loans for diverse consumers and communities.
  • Devoted material philanthropic funding to small business assistance organizations, focusing on racial equity and nonprofit organizations with people of color in board and management leaderships. 
  • Supported organizations addressing critical issues—economic sustainability, public safety, education, and youth workforce development— facing communities of color, focusing on organizations with persons of color in board and management leadership. 

Expanded access, lowered costs for banking services

Truist strives to be a leader in lending to unbanked, underbanked, and traditionally underserved clients. The $31.9 billion committed in our Community Benefits Plan for mortgage loans to LMI borrowers, in LMI geographies, to racially and ethnically diverse borrowers, and in majority-minority geographies is a centerpiece of this effort. 

Inclusive mortgage programs

We have an extensive program to support firsttime homebuyers, especially in underserved LMI and rural areas. This includes raising awareness and penetration of affordable mortgage products and programs, such as mortgage grants and down payment assistance, and developing partnerships with builders of affordable housing to provide credit to LMI borrowers. Additionally, Truist partners with eight HUD-certified nonprofits to assist homebuyers, including Operation Hope, HomeFree USA, and the Urban League. To assist those with limited English proficiency, we provide multilingual teams and provide select translated mortgage documents.

Emergency savings

Another way Truist is helping unbanked and underbanked clients is our participation in BlackRock’s philanthropic Emergency Savings Initiative (ESI), which increases access to lowcost, low-friction savings products for financially vulnerable Americans. As the first major bank to join the initiative, Truist will help clients build emergency savings by launching new ESI solutions to help clients improve their circumstances, manage unforeseen shocks, and get ahead in life.

Small loans

Some clients need a short-term, small loan to meet important everyday needs. Truist is laying the foundation for a new small-dollar lending solution we call The Truist Ready Now Loan. Specifically designed to help clients cover emergency and borrowing needs of $100 to $1,000, it will be offered to existing bank clients through our award-winning Truist online and mobile banking platforms. The Truist Ready Now Loan will be affordable, provide clear and understandable repayment terms, and credit reporting to help clients build their credit history.

Low-cost money account

Our BankOn certified account provides a generalpurpose reloadable prepaid money account. This low-cost alternative to check cashing is currently being used by over 37,600 clients and includes features that allow online bill payment to manage expenses.

Strengthening small businesses

Recognizing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on microbusinesses with 20 or fewer employees, Truist provided nearly $2 million in grants directly to over 200 small businesses, 80% of which are owned by women, immigrants, and people of color.2 In support of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), teammates worked around the clock to provide 85,000 businesses with PPP loans, and another 20,000 with loan accommodations.

With Truist’s support: 

  • Over 100,000 businesses were given the chance to keep going—to keep helping their customers, to keep serving their communities.
  • Over 2.8 million people were given the chance to remain employed during a historic economic downturn.

For many small businesses and their owners, we know the struggle continues—so our efforts persist. The Truist small business recovery program provides action steps for business owners. And we continue to develop resources like PPP forgiveness application help, alternative lending solutions, and payment relief on personal loans and mortgages.

Our work in support of small businesses is informed by the Truist Community Advisory Board, composed of representatives of nonprofit organizations serving LMI communities. The board has a Small Business Work Group, Affordable Housing Work Group, and Rural Work Group. During 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, Truist provided $17.2 million in grant funding to CDFIs to support assistance to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Our investment to establish CornerSquare Community Capital is described in the Community chapter of this CSR and ESG Report. A formal referral program with personalized support from Truist is being crafted as part of its launch based on input from several CDFIs with the goal of increasing follow-through by the small business owner.

Another way Truist is supporting small businesses and their communities is with a grant to a vocational training organization that provides businesses with the knowledge and tools to be a Second Chance employer. This program educates, provides tools, and certifies businesses to employ individuals with past addictions, incarceration, and generational poverty. 

Multicultural banking

Truist is expanding its network of multicultural banking centers, which offer multilingual staff and materials in locally prevalent languages. These are focused on meeting the needs and representing the diversity of cultures and languages of Black/African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino communities across Truist’s 14 geographic regions. In addition to the regional multicultural banking centers, every region operates a multicultural committee to help deliver an inclusive banking experience backed by authentic engagement.

In 2020, we made an explicit commitment in our enhanced diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy to evaluate and execute a comprehensive program to further enhance multicultural banking at Truist.

Based on this strategy, we’ve identified and launched the process for an additional 300 multicultural banking centers that, when implemented, will result in nearly one-third of Truist branches being classified as multicultural centers.

Our dedicated Multicultural Banking Office has relationships with more than 600 diverse and multicultural community partners. These community partner organizations span faith communities, ethnic chambers of commerce, community action groups, and education centers, including HBCUs. Our multicultural partners host “Bank on Your Success” financial literacy programs and assist Truist in better understanding the needs of their communities. 

Bank on Your Success seminars

Designed to meet the needs of multicultural communities, our Bank on Your Success series is offered in multiple languages and hosted at community centers, churches, and other places convenient to and trusted by community members. Topics include helpful advice about money management, mortgages, and, more recently, pandemic relief programs.

In 2020, Truist held 1,292 virtual sessions of Bank on Your Success, reaching 23,000 individuals. We made the “Budgeting in a Crisis” workshop developed by our multicultural banking team available online. Many sessions were recorded so people unable to participate at the scheduled time could still benefit. Community organizations as varied as the Afghan Academy of Washington, D.C., and United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Dallas, Texas, hosted the sessions.

Building financial confidence and more in the Afghan community

The nonprofit Afghan Academy helps Afghan Americans in the Greater Washington, D.C., region with services ranging from a Saturday school to professional networking. The academy partnered with Truist in 2019 to host a successful session for young professionals on first-time homeownership. When the pandemic hit, our Washington, D.C., multicultural banking chair reached out to the Afghan Academy to see if it wanted to host a virtual workshop on “Budgeting in a Crisis.” Our offer was enthusiastically received. Following the workshop, the president of the academy called to thank us for our partnership and asked if we could assist them with a condominium purchase for their first owned office space. The Truist small business team worked with the president on loan approval, and we were able to offer them a lower interest rate than their commercial broker’s rate. 

$20 million Operation HOPE investment boosts financial inclusion

In April 2021, Truist and Operation HOPE announced an expanded, multiyear partnership that includes a series of transformative programs such as HOPE Inside coaching, digital access that connects to education and Truist solutions, and HOPE’s One Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative (1MBB). Operation HOPE is dedicated to moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” by making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved. Its goal is to disrupt poverty for millions of low- and moderateincome youth and adults. 

With this new investment, Truist and Operation HOPE launched a four-year effort that will enhance HOPE Inside coaching, bringing in-person and virtual financial coaching, educational content, and solutions to 1,000 Truist branches. Additionally, Truist and Operation HOPE will further expand digital and mobile access to financial coaches and provide financial education resources to solve everyday financial challenges. The expanded partnership also supports Operation HOPE’s work toward launching 1 million Black-owned businesses by 2030. Truist is accelerating the program by offering small business solutions along with in-kind support and a capacitybuilding investment.

Read the full report here