Moderator: Catherine Crosby, Board Chairperson, NCRC
Speakers: Stephen D. Steinour, Chairman, President of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated
NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.
So I’ll give you a little quick biography. You can have a seat. I want a very quick bio. Okay, very quick bio. This is Steve, is that quick enough? That’s good. So Steve is the president and CEO of Huntington Bank. And so like I said, Before, I was a part of the community benefit agreement process when Huntington Bank started their process some years ago, I think you’re on your third, we are a benefit agreement. And so that is a huge commitment. So we have some banks that they do want agreement, and then we’re done having a conversation. So we’re glad that you’re leading the way. So why don’t we have a seat? All right. Steve, graduated from Gettysburg. We’re not going to do that, because we’re not gonna put you to sleep. So we’re just gonna jump right when
I graduated. I couldn’t get into that school today anyway.
So why don’t you tell us about your role and why you think they should be a part of these Community Benefit Agreements? And why you decided to do that? Well,
I think fundamentally, banks are at the intersection of commerce, right, we take deposits, we make loans, we do lots of other things as well, the the communities, I think, need responsible banks. And we in turn, because we’re community bank, only do well when the community does well. So it’s symbiotic. I think the benefit of the CBAS, which we’ve come to learn, is very significant. And I don’t know why other banks don’t do them in multiples, and why this isn’t a process that’s embraced. For us. When we started the first one, you’ll remember, we were, we were literally going year by year and looking to do more every year, but we didn’t have a five year plan. And so consequently, we thought we’re doing great, but we couldn’t project what great might look like, if we really pushed ourselves, how much could we do? How much impact could we have? So that was that was an important lesson. Second was, we were doing great, but we were doing it with the same set of partners, we just do more with the same set of partners. The benefit of NCRC, in terms of opening up many, many new possible partners for us, was extraordinary. And so we remember we did these, we do these listening tours, every time before we do the CBA. We want to understand what the needs of the community are. And while we may know at a certain level, what those needs are, we’re not there every day, you guys are you guys know, firsthand. We don’t. So everything we do is through partners by with partners and through partners, by going through these rounds locally with NCRC partners. It informs ultimately what we do in the plan. I see Ernie Hogan here, already spent a great part of Pittsburgh running PCR GE now for multiple decades. Or, you know, if we didn’t talk to Ernie, we’d be missing something vital to what we might do in the Greater Pittsburgh community. So one, there’s the benefit of the listening tours the rounds. And, and for me, it’s it’s very beneficial. Because I do them, I think I missed one or two meetings out of 50 or 75 meetings over the three years, or three times we’ve done this. And then that lets us help shape our programs. So we can talk about some of those programs if you want but but by by learning firsthand what the needs are by hearing that directly, it puts us in a much better position to engage and more effectively partner and create better and more significant results for the communities we serve. And ultimately, that’s better for us.
Awesome. So you talked a little bit about being on your third plan. What What motivated you to go to the second plan. And then to the third plan?
Well, we did the first plan and started in 2017. It was a five year plan. We completed it in three and a half years. So when we completed it, we said let’s go out let’s re up. The first plan was $16 billion dollars. The second plan then was we wanted to do more, was $20 billion. And, and because we’d never done something like we just didn’t know how much we could do. So when we when we got when we completed the first one to three and a half years, it gave us a sense of what’s possible, which we didn’t otherwise know. That led to the second one at 20. And then we had this great opportunity to combine with another company we acquired them called TCF they doubled our presence in Michigan, traveled it in Chicago gave us new great markets, like the Twin Cities of Minnesota and Colorado. And so that just gave us that much more opportunity and the local community groups in those different markets also helped weigh in and inform the The discussions we were having, and the ideas that ultimately, we came up with a great example that is a program we run, called Lift local. So Huntington is, by volume, the largest SBA lender in the country, we’re one or two for the last almost a decade. But we only lend in our footprint. And so we do lots of business with small business. What we were missing, though, was neighborhood micro loans. And that’s what came out of this third round of listening tours. And so we put together again, everything in partnership, we have a national partner Operation Hope, John Hope, Brian’s organization, and we worked for a year and a half, two years, tailoring a entrepreneurship program that they deliver. And then we find our local partners in our marketplaces that we take that program through and the the individuals that go through that program, if they’re a startup, we want them to have an idea of what they’re going to face by running the business. Project. Hope does that for us. As they complete then we go on to to fund their loans. And these are we absorbed the SBA fees, these are loans anywhere from $1,000 to $150,000. No fee, low rate can be long term, if that’s what’s expected up to 10 years. So really is cheap capital. Because it’s fixed rate, low low fixed rate. fixed capital fixed long term capital, it’s a great program, we’ve we started with 25 million, we’ve gone through that we’ve got 125 million, it looks like we’re going to complete that later this year, we’ll then put another number in on the program and try and do more, but it’s really helpful. These are jobs in the neighborhoods, we were talking earlier, you heard about not having income in the neighborhoods? Well, one way to do that is to spur business in the neighborhoods. And that’s what this program is designed to, we would have done it without the listening tour.
Awesome. Well, I’m glad to hear that the community listening tours were so valuable. There are a number of people who have not been a part of the community benefit agreement process and a part of those listening tours. What would you say to a community member that wants to engage the bank? How would you suggest that they go about?
Well, you can do it directly, the challenge we have is if everybody has a directly we get flooded, and we can’t respond. So the benefit of these tours are generally I think there’s been 1512 1520 Plus organizations around the tables within CRC deserts as the coalition bringing lots of, of not for profits together and and articulating for and with them, what the needs are, whether it’s the CRA, proposed amendment, or an otherwise, but you facilitate each of these as local meetings. So we get the benefit of being in with a dozen or two dozen organizations, many of whom we don’t know where they don’t know us.
Awesome. Well, you’ve answered a lot of my questions that I have left easy good. Yeah, it’s been pretty easy. Do you mind taking a question from the audience? Oh,
Happy to Alright, can I get maybe one question not gonna be able to see hands raised? So we’re gonna do this. Charles Harris? I’ll repeat it. To the CPA, will the bank see that ever? Three. The question was if a group of nonprofits got together to propose a CBA would the bank see that as a threat? I get there? I I don’t think the bank, you know, certainly we wouldn’t. Everything we do is with partners. Happy to have a coalition of interests come together. But we’re happy to be one of either as well. I know. I’ve been around this industry for 40 years. I know many of my peers, not all of them, man. I think most of them are very approachable. And and I think their people have good intent. And so some of us are just more comfortable getting into the, the, you know, getting into the neighborhoods and communities and then others but but you know, you learn I didn’t initially have this it started 25 years ago in Philadelphia when I go around to the different neighborhoods in Philly, and we had some tough meetings and tough neighborhoods. But you’re so if you assume good intent, then your efforts to outreach hopefully will be fruitful.
Well, as I mentioned earlier, I was a part of the Huntington Bank Community Benefit agreement process it was a really good process. And you know, after that, that process, you are formed an advisory group that you deal with on a regular basis and I wasn’t one that particular advisory group, but it was one of the ones that the community members spoke very highly of and thought that, you know, everyone at the bank was really engaged. Do you want to talk a little bit about that that group and how you are?
Sure. Another great benefit of, of our partnership with NCRC is our national community advisory committee. And we meet three or four times a year. And we meet so we can learn. And this is not intended to be, sort of show me and how great are we? It’s its needs evolve, or, frankly, right now needs are evolving with inflation fairly significantly. So what can we do better differently? What are the new ideas, we only see what we do you see what other banks do, as well as what the needs are. So we find these incredibly valuable sessions, where we’ll share, of course, but we also learn, and the exchange is very powerful and helps the shape further shape our agendas. So we’re privileged we have, I think, a dozen NCAC members on our advisory council and some have been on since the inception. I can’t quite see with these lights. But Ernie is that you? So early Hogan has been on for since inception. And I’ve known him for a couple of decades and the scene of the great work he’s done in many, many, many communities, but but we have a lot of new friends and new advisors. And then we cycle a bit on the committee as well. So we always have some fresh freshness about.
Well, folks, that is a wrap. I want to say thank you so much, Steve, I know you’ve you’ve had a pretty busy day. But we really appreciate you joining us today. We hope that this was a helpful fireside chat for you are just to hear a little bit from a bank leader about how they’re engaging with the community. And as I mentioned before, Huntington has been a great partner and a great example of how Community Benefit Agreements work as well as how our stakeholders can can engage with their financial institutions.