We listen to stakeholder feedback to create products that are beneficial to our customers and the community.
For example, in August 2018, we launched U.S. Bank Simple Loan, which is designed to support customers who have a short-term need for cash.
In the months prior to our market launch, we ran an extensive pilot program obtaining customer interest and feedback. During that time, we also tested payoff performance, loss rates, and profitability so that we could establish pricing that accounts for the additional risks associated with such loans; while also ensuring that we were effectively meeting consumer needs. We also reviewed the product prior to its launch with our Community Advisory Committee (CAC) obtaining critical feedback from 16 prominent community leaders.
Doing the right thing for our customers
In 2018, U.S. Bank launched a new small-dollar consumer loan product called U.S. Bank Simple Loan.
This product is designed to help customers deal with unexpected or short-term cash needs with a transparent, easy-to-understand installment loan.
“Simple Loan is straightforward, transparent and more affordable than many other products in the market. It meets a critical credit need for customers who might otherwise be forced to seek a loan that can carry interest charges of more than several hundred percent,” said Paul Woodruff, Executive Director, Prosperity Connection, and member, U.S. Bank Community Advisory Committee. “People need access to small-dollar credit. U.S. Bank is answering the call and providing a pathway for customers to save money and meet their needs.”
U.S. Bank worked closely with, and provided full transparency to, regulators while developing this product. We were the first national bank to offer this type of short-term loan solution. It also supports the company’s commitment to striving for simplicity in the products and services we provide our customers. U.S. Bank first tested the product with select customers. Customer feedback overwhelmingly indicated that people who used the product greatly appreciated the simple pricing structure and immediate access to funds. In addition, customers shared they valued that their loan was reported to credit agencies, giving them the ability to build their credit.
“Simple Loan is a major step for a national bank to provide small-dollar loans with longer payment schedules to fit consumers’ complicated financial lives,” said José Quiñonez, Founder & CEO, Mission Asset Fund, and member, U.S. Bank Community Advisory Committee. “I only hope that others follow the lead of U.S. Bank in the future, because consumers across the country desperately need credit, even if it’s $100 or $1,000 at a time.”
Serving the Unbanked / Underbanked
Our Safe Debit Account is a “checkless checking” product we offer consumers, which meets the Bank On National Account Standards developed by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). This service outlines the features of products that would be “safe” for consumers who have historically been outside of traditional banking.
The product launched in 2016, but last year we participated in a pilot program run by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis to test a common data collection method across banks that have products meeting the Bank On standards. Through this effort, we help to define a common format and reporting frequency that supports community partners across the country in their efforts to measure success in their work to build financial empowerment in their communities.
U.S. Bank is a tremendous national partner in the Bank On movement’s efforts to connect millions of those left outside the financial mainstream.
Protecting data and information
In today’s world, protecting information is a top priority and a significant part of our corporate responsibility.
We stay a step ahead by investing in the right people, technology and leading-edge capabilities, partnering with industry peers, conducting outreach and coordination with the government and other resources and suppliers and constantly upgrading our defenses. We anticipate emerging threats through risk-based, intelligence-driven and predictive strategies. We enable customer and business-driven growth while protecting existing revenue. We safeguard U.S. Bank information and assets through adaptive security enhancements and with a cyber-security center and team monitoring activity 24/7.
We invest in our future workforce through the U.S. Bank cybersecurity scholarship program, supporting recipients at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Washington, Whatcom College, and the University of Missouri-St Louis. We advise the NYU Tandon School of Engineering on its online graduate Cybersecurity program, and three U.S. Bank employees were selected for fellowships in the first year of the program.
We also collaborate with the Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education, a program jointly sponsored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, and we organized and led the first multi-sector industry cybersecurity workforce development panel during the 2018 CAE Executive Leadership Forum. And we are partnering with the National Security Agency and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab’s Integrated Adaptive Cyber Defense (IACD) program to facilitate an automated response to a cyberattack. Additionally, we have community partnerships with Girls Who Code, Technovation and the Girl Scouts to help promote technological skills among the youth in our communities.
Empowering the next generation of information security leaders
Cybersecurity is at the heart of keeping our customers and communities protected from attacks.
Dedicating our resources to information security is crucial to becoming the Most Trusted Choice.
In the past three years, we have given a total of $70,000 in scholarships to students focused on cybersecurity/computer science/information security degrees.
Additionally, we initiated partnerships with Technovation, Girls Who Code and the Girl Scouts to empower our next generation of cybersecurity and STEM leaders.
“We are facing a significant talent shortage in the cybersecurity field across all industries,” said U.S. Bank Chief Information Security Officer Tim Held. “In order to maintain safety and soundness, we need well-trained cybersecurity leaders in our businesses. That is why we are excited to once again provide these scholarships across the country to help further these students’ education and training.”
In 2018, U.S. Bank teamed up with the Girl Scouts to deliver cybersecurity programming to girls in Western Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Last November, U.S. Bank cybersecurity team volunteers led girls through hands-on activities, teaching them the basics of cybersecurity and helping them to become some of the first scouts in the region to earn the new Girl Scout Cybersecurity Basics, Junior Badge.
“Girl Scouts has the largest pipeline of future female leaders available, and no place is this more important than in STEM fields,” said Roni Luckenbill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. “By working with companies like U.S. Bank that understand the importance of investing in all girls, we can fundamentally change the STEM pipeline and the future of its workforce.”
Over the past three years, U.S. Bank has mentored middle and high school girls who are coding for social good as part of an app challenge through Technovation[MN]. Through the challenge, teams were tasked with identifying a social problem and creating an app to help solve it.
“These girls are tackling pretty big problems and doing it gracefully,” said Shawn Stavseth, Executive Director of Technovation[MN]. “The community overall is extremely supportive and as long as we can keep these girls engaged we’ll have an extraordinary workforce in a couple of years.”
Technovation, a program that is part of the national nonprofit Iridescent, focuses on teaching middle school and high school age girls how to build and launch apps as part of a state, regional and national competition. U.S. Bank sponsored seven teams in the Twin Cities, mentoring the girls in areas such as business planning and cybersecurity.
The problems and app solutions the girls presented on are exactly the things we are talking about at the bank every single day. The girls were terrific. I could not have done this at their age. Our future is absolutely bright.
Our Approach: Environmental, Social, Governance
Last year, we completed a materiality assessment in partnership with Ceres, interviewing internal and external stakeholders to understand what Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are most material to our company.
We are working hard to make forward progress on what we learned from the assessment and to continue to listen and learn from stakeholders who share our perspective on the importance of constructive and respectful dialogue to address important areas of opportunity. We have included highlights of our ESG efforts below. You can also read more in our proxy and throughout our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) annual report. As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the evolving disclosure landscape including framework, goals and guidance, scores and ratings. We will work to continually assess business risks and opportunities and to ensure our strategy evolves with the changing world.
At U.S. Bank, we continue to monitor closely the evolving ESG disclosure landscape. Through our Ceres partnership, we are looking to improve our understanding of how our work supports and advances the recommendations from the Task Forces on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are actively looking at ways to better align with the recommendations of the TCFD and will continue to evaluate ways to improve our reporting and disclosure.
Some ways we are already driving progress toward the UN 2030 agenda include:
- Our investments in renewable energy projects support Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
- Our business activities fundamentally contribute to Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
- Our focus on community contributions and maintaining financial market stability support goal 10, Reduced Inequalities.
- Our investments in affordable housing drive towards goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.
- Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) reduction commitment addresses goal 13, Climate Action.