The Enterprise Bank family continues to feel deep pain, anger, sadness, and trauma from recent events, including the killing of George Floyd and the Black Community being hit the hardest by COVID-19 and job losses. These, and other recent events, have brought to the forefront the centuries-long history of racism, discrimination, inequality, and injustice in America. I express this recognizing that there is simply no way for me to personally fully comprehend how people who are most vulnerable to the impact of systemic racism, discrimination, injustice, bias and inequality within our Enterprise family and communities are feeling at this time. I am doing my best to listen and understand. Bias and racism can be obvious, explicit, implicit, unconscious, or latent. We join the passionate calls for an end to the racism, inequality, injustice, and discrimination that have long afflicted our communities and country. We all need to be part of the solution. Change starts with every individual, organization and community listening, understanding, and taking action to improve. It is time for change, and we must all do more collectively and individually.
Enterprise Bank was founded by George Duncan in 1988 in downtown Lowell with the purpose of helping to create successful businesses, jobs, opportunities, and communities. We intentionally located and expanded our headquarters in the heart of downtown Lowell amid the diversity of this city and we have mindfully and intentionally expanded to the gateway cities of Lawrence, Nashua, Leominster, and Fitchburg. Our deep immersion in the culture, diversity, ideals and traditions of these cities makes us better and stronger as an organization. I am proud of the culture of diversity, equality and inclusion that we have created here at Enterprise Bank. Our company was founded on the core principles of fairness, equality, respect, inclusion, and love. But principles alone are not enough, and we know that we must be better. We must continuously take more meaningful action in the months and years ahead. Some of what we have recently initiated include:
- Newly formed Inclusion Council - For many years we have had an active and vibrant Multicultural Alliance employee group. In February of 2020 we announced that we were seeking volunteers within our Enterprise family to join a new Inclusion Council and last week launched a dedicated internal website which includes a discussion board for all team members to share their stories and feelings on personal experiences to allow us to learn from each other. The mission of the council is to further embrace and promote awareness of personal identity in the workplace, identify equity gaps in order to help resolve them, and strengthen everyone’s sense of belonging within our Enterprise family. The Inclusion Council is committed to helping influence and impact positive change towards social justice and inclusivity within the communities we serve.
- Talent Development - In March of 2018 we created the role of Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership Program Specialist to develop the strategy and approach to building effective initiatives aimed at increasing the cultural competence and inclusiveness of all Enterprise Bank team members. The goal is to further enhance our progress in hiring, mentoring, advancing, and promoting people of color and strengthen feelings of inclusion and equity. A key program we initiated was the Bank Career Exploration Program with the mission of outreach to organizations that primarily serve students of color by providing information on careers in banking, conducting workshops on financial habits, the basics of banking, applying and interviewing for banking positions, shadowing bankers during the workday and providing internships to students. We will be reviewing and refining our Talent Management Plan, expanding on our Bank Career Exploration.
- Training and Education - In 2018 we conducted focus groups with our team members to gather perspectives and perform a gap analysis to determine our training and education needs. From that we conducted microinequities and unconscious bias training for managers and unconscious bias training for team members. Our Multicultural Alliance employee resource group has also hosted bi-monthly educational workshops to share information with team members on ethnic heritage, further enhancing our understanding of one another. We will significantly increase this training and education. We will also work with community partners to bring training and education to the communities we serve on topics to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Branches and Charitable Contributions - Our community leadership and involvement and our philanthropy in communities grows from where we locate our branches. We have intentionally sought to open branches in gateway and diverse communities and most of our charitable contributions are allocated to organizations in these communities. We recently increased our charitable contribution budget to provide for additional financial contributions to organizations that specifically promote racial justice and equality as well as education of such.
- Juneteenth - Last week we credited vacation time to all team members to honor Juneteenth and we have committed to closing the bank early next year to further commemorate it.
- Affordable Housing - We have vigorously supported the funding of affordable housing and our team members have played active and significant leadership roles in fostering increased affordable housing in our communities.
- Board of Directors and our three Regional Advisory Councils - Our board of directors has strong gender diversity and we are actively striving to achieve better diversity of color. Our three regional advisory councils reflect the diversity of their communities, which has been highly impactful in our discussions.
The aforementioned are just a beginning. I want to be crystal clear when I say that we - all 550 Enterprise Bank team members and our Board of Directors - condemn all forms of racism, discrimination, injustice, and inequalities. It is time for all of us - and we begin by focusing inward on ourselves as we feel every organization should - to put words into substantively more action; together and individually. The Enterprise family’s resolve and determination to provide community leadership towards eradicating racism and to be better ourselves has strengthened. I hope you will join Enterprise Bank as we work together toward a brighter and more equitable future for all.
CEO Enterprise Bank