BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Aug. 23, 2021 – Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE:RF) on Monday announced the release of its latest Annual Review and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. The document, linked here, gives Regions’ customers, investors, associates, community partners, and other stakeholders a comprehensive overview of not only the company’s financial performance – but also progress made in addressing a range of environmental and social issues while maintaining strong governance principles.
Specifically, the in-depth report spans the year 2020 – when communities worldwide began to be confronted by a global health crisis the likes of which our society had never experienced. In addition, a series of racial injustices illustrated the need for greater equity and the importance of companies stepping up to serve as part of the solution to systemic racism and biases. Further, the need for more innovation in banking was met by quickly adapting to, and anticipating, evolving customer needs.
Regions and its associates tackled these issues and others head-on – guided by the company’s mission to make life better.
“Despite these unprecedented events, there were specific things that did not change. Our mission and purpose, underscored by our values, remained steadfast,” said John Turner, President and CEO of Regions Financial Corp. “We were there when it mattered in 2020, whether big moments or small touchpoints. And that’s what it’s all about – developing relationships with our stakeholders and delivering on our purpose to create shared value for all of them.”
Regions’ 2020 Annual Review and ESG Report is titled “Consistent, Sustainable, Long-Term Performance – Made Simple.” It stays true to its title with an easy-to-digest, interactive format, and it complements Regions’ existing disclosures on ESG matters and related topics.
Highlights from this latest report include:
- Responding to the Health Crisis and Economic Disruption: Regions Bank operated from a position of strength in addressing the financial challenges people and businesses experienced as the pandemic’s impacts grew. At the same time, the company took several steps to protect the health and safety of customers and associates alike. As the pandemic unfolded, Regions quickly:
- Transitioned to a remote-work environment for non-branch associates, while also keeping more than 90 percent of Regions’ branches open, maintaining essential financial services while observing the latest health guidelines.
- Regions also supported customers with a significant number of loan payment deferrals and forbearance requests.
- Further, the bank provided vital capital to small businesses by reassigning more than 2,100 associates to help with funding needs related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was set up by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help keep businesses afloat.
- Elevating Our Commitment to Racial Equity and Economic Empowerment: The nation, and the world, were rocked by a series of racial injustices that served as painful reminders of the progress that has yet to be made in terms of eliminating racism and removing systemic biases. As a financial institution, Regions recognizes it has a key role to serve in creating greater equity and elevating communities. The bank must use its resources and experience in ways that foster more inclusion and unity. Among examples of Regions’ response in 2020:
- On June 30, Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit funded primarily by Regions Bank, announced a combined two-year, $12 million commitment to advance programs and initiatives that promote racial equity and economic empowerment for communities of color.
- Within less than six months of the 24-month commitment, Regions Bank, the Regions Foundation, and the Regions Community Development Corporation had allocated more than $5.2 million to positively impact communities of color, providing more equitable opportunities for success and prosperity.
- Accelerating the Cadence of Innovation: Customers’ needs changed dramatically – and quickly – in 2020. Already investing more in digital services, Regions Bank was able to respond in rapid time by meeting changing expectations. Regions is focused on providing an omni-channel banking experience, where customers receive superior service through any number of options. Among highlights in 2020:
- Mobile transactions were up significantly, and Regions launched a reimagined mobile banking app that earned a 4.8-star rating on the Apple app store.
- Approximately 1.1 billion logins were recorded in 2020 as Regions reached 2.9 million active digital customers.
- The bank launched Regions Greenprint™ – a system that helps customers work with a banker to create, track and meet their financial goals. Since Greenprint was launched, Regions bankers have completed over 800,000 custom financial plans for customers.
- Generating Solid Financial Performance in a Challenging Year: Regions finished 2020 delivering top total shareholder returns among peers and strong financial results, despite the challenges endured throughout the year. Highlights included:
- Reporting net income available to common shareholders of $991 million and earnings per diluted share of $1.03.
- Revenue grew 7% percent; with 6% growth on an adjusted basis.
- Record pre-tax, pre-provision income was up 11% over the prior year, while adjusted pre-tax pre-provision income increased 9% to its highest level in more than a decade.
- A steady focus on continuous improvement helped generate positive operating leverage of 2.7% on a reported basis and 2.6% on an adjusted basis.
- Overall credit results were better than originally expected, especially given the challenging operating environment.
- While interest rates fell to all-time lows, net interest income grew 4% from the prior year, attributable in large part to Regions’ comprehensive interest rate hedging program.
- Achieving Key Environmental Objectives: The banking industry can serve a key role in helping businesses and industries transition to a lower-carbon economy. Regions is focused on this every day – while also finding ways to reduce the bank’s own emissions. Among examples:
- Regions’ consistent focus on energy use reduction includes building automation systems, energy-efficient equipment, and developing more sustainable branches.
- Examples of sustainability in new-branch construction and renovations include:
- Light-colored thermoplastic roofing materials
- Recycled-content ceiling tiles, ceiling grids, and wall bases
- Carbon-neutral carpet tiles
- ENERGY STAR®-compliant window glazing
- Ultra-high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with demand-control ventilation
- 100% LED light fixtures
- In 2020, Regions generated 119 megawatts of electricity across 20 rooftop solar installations on branch facilities.
- The company has realized $91 million in cumulative energy cost savings since 2008.
- Regions is also focused on increasing lending and other financial services in support of a healthier environment. 2020 sustainable finance highlights include:
- Providing more than $575 million in renewable energy financing
- Sustainably managing over one million acres of timber land
- Facilitating 97% growth year-over-year in client assets allocated to ESG-focused investment products
- Fostering Financial Inclusion: Year-round, Regions and its associates share insights and guidance to help people manage and grow their finances. Regions is dedicated to helping not only existing customers, but also the unbanked and underbanked. One example of helping increase wealth generation in communities served by Regions is a clear focus on supporting homeownership. Among steps taken in 2020:
- Regions created and implemented the Regions FirstHome Assist down payment assistance grant program, offering up to $4,000 toward down payments to low- and moderate-income borrowers in designated markets.
- The bank adjusted credit criteria on certain products, enabling more low- and moderate-income borrowers to qualify for homeownership.
- Regions expanded its team of community loan officers to focus on the lending and service needs of our communities.
- Company-wide, the Regions Next Step® financial wellness program supported 130,000 financial wellness workshops covering a variety of topics.
- Approximately 1.8 million people received financial education from Regions.
- There were 2.7 million page views of Regions’ digital financial education resources.
The 2020 Annual Review and ESG Report also includes in-depth information about Regions’ governance structure and processes, including a renewed emphasis on ESG practices, performance, and disclosures. Though the report is detailed and thorough, Chief Governance Officer Andrew Nix said it is just a snapshot of the good work accomplished in 2020.
“At Regions, making life better is not just our mission – it’s our promise; it’s what we’re doing every day for the people and places we serve,” Nix said. “The Annual Review and ESG Report provides meaningful updates on a wide range of issues that matter to us and to our stakeholders. And it demonstrates that our work is not over. A culture of continuous improvement is ingrained in our thinking, and we will build on our progress in the years to come.”
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $156 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and approximately 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.
About Regions Community Development Corporation
The Regions Community Development Corporation (RCDC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regions Bank and serves as a catalyst to help revitalize communities and improve the lives of economically disadvantaged families in the Regions footprint. RCDC helps fulfill Regions’ mission to make life better by providing debt and/or equity financing for projects and entities with a community-development purpose.