Spokane Journal of Business

U.S. Bank reports $3.2 billion in community support in '12

Institution says its infusion included mix of investments, grants, loans, sponsorships

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ys it committed more than $3.2 billion last year to communities across the country through community development loans, investments, grants, corporate contributions, and nonprofit sponsorships.

That funding, it asserts, helped breathe new life into residential neighborhoods, create new affordable housing, and transform abandoned commercial buildings into vibrant new spaces. Those investments and other contributions to the community are detailed in the bank's 2012 Corporate Citizenship report released this spring.

"U.S. Bank is committed to strengthening the foundations of the communities where we do business and beyond," says Richard Davis, chairman, president, CEO of U.S. Bancorp, parent company of U.S. Bank, in a press release that included details about the report.

"Each year, we partner with hundreds of nonprofit organizations to revive neighborhoods and urban cores by establishing much-needed affordable housing, services, and programs," Davis says.

The $3.2 billion committed in 2012 included community development loans, tax credit investments, U.S. Bank Foundation grants, corporate giving, and nonprofit sponsorships. The following are some examples of that giving:

•The bank provided $1.6 billion in community development investments across the country. This included a partnership with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in which U.S. Bank helped finance the construction and sale of 712 Habitat for Humanity homes in 18 states. Over the past five years, U.S. Bank has supported the development of 2,975 Habitat homes spanning 30 states.

•The bank made a commitment in 2012 to find projects that would renovate previously abandoned buildings or unfinished developments into creative, new spaces and uses. Notable commitments include $4.7 million to turn an empty museum into Discovery Science CenterLos Angeles, $5 million to renovate a historic Oakland building into the new region headquarters for Girls, Inc. of Alameda County and $38 million for Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to relocate and expand its community health center and supportive housing facilities in Denver.

•The bank recently piloted Community Restoration Fund programs in Milwaukee and the Twin Cities and says it saw significant impact from those programs last year. Each program created a $1 million revolving loan pool that enabled community developers to tap into capital to acquire, renovate, and sell foreclosed properties in Neighborhood Stabilization Program areas, and then return the borrowed capital to the pool for reuse.

In addition to financial investments in communities, U.S. Bank says it mobilizes its network of 65,000 employees nationwide to champion community programs and causes by giving of their time and talents.

Last year, it says, bank employees spent nearly 250,000 hours volunteering in their communities, and more than 2,000 bankers served on nonprofit boards or committees. Bank employees can take up to 16 hours of paid time off annually to volunteer. The bank also created a Dollars for Doing program, which recognizes employees' volunteerism with charitable contributions from the U.S. Bank Foundation.

In August 2012, bankers in nine cities partnered with community organizations to provide free backpacks and school supplies to more than 1,000 children as a Back to School kickoff. Most of the locations selected were affordable-housing properties that U.S. Bank says it had financed.

"We encourage our employees to be engaged members of their communities. We've developed lasting relationships with many nonprofit organizations by serving as a partner for financial support and employee leadership," says Davis.

Publicly traded U.S. Bancorp, with more than $355 billion in assets as of the end of the 2013 first quarter, says its U.S. Bank subsidiary is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S.

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