Valley Bank issues 1st annual Environmental, Social and Governance report

Wayne-based Valley National Bank has issued its first annual Environmental, Social and Governance report, which highlights the bank’s cultural and social progress and its focus on the risks and opportunities of climate change.

The report covers the work accomplished in 2020 and first half of 2021 and represents Valley’s mission to promote inclusive economic opportunity, growth and positive societal impact. It also reinforces Valley’s commitment to Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures frameworks.

The full report can be found here.

Highlights include:

  • Valley’s social impact, including diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives, community engagement, investment and philanthropy, as well as support for affordable housing and small business development;
  • Valley’s environmental impact, including climate mitigation lending;
  • Valley’s governance impact, including governance and oversight of ethics, data privacy, cybersecurity and other ESG-related factors.

The report also highlights how Valley’s economic development investments and related activities directly support small business, including investments in community development financial institutions. Valley is a Small Business Administration preferred lender.

In 2020, Valley made over 2,136 loans to small businesses and/or in low- to moderate- income communities, excluding Paycheck Protection Program loans and similar programs, through June 2021.

Valley reported that it did work to fund as many PPP loans as possible, which resulted in over $3 billion in PPP loans funded and, since the launch of the PPP Program, nearly 20,000 PPP loans were processed by Valley.

Valley also partnered with the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York through its Small Business Recovery Grant program. In response to COVID-19, this program focused on the health of the workers and provided financial security for organizations that suffered a decrease in revenue because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Ira Robbins. (File photo)

“Our first annual ESG report highlights how Valley continues to make strides in its efforts to have a positive impact on the communities we serve and in the world in which we live,” said Ira Robbins, Valley Bank CEO. “We recognize the critical role we play and the unique opportunity we have to create a socially responsible and sustainable future. That’s why we’ve dedicated our resources and leaders to making ESG a priority at Valley.”

In early 2021, Valley created an ESG Council to bring together the bank’s various business lines to strengthen its ESG efforts, raise awareness of the impact of climate change and collaborate on opportunities to mitigate its effects.

“Valley recognizes that climate change is one of the world’s most pressing issues, and we are committed to understanding how it may influence the risks we identify and manage,” Robbins stated. “We are implementing programs to better understand climate-related risks and how they impact our funding and capital management practices.”