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The tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others before them have caused our nation to come face-to-face with its history of systemic racism. The structural racial injustices that have been levied against African Americans were born from a terrible national legacy – slavery. We'll never be able to adequately right the wrongs of the past, but it’s our obligation as leaders in the business community to publicly and passionately condemn these injustices with greater commitment, focus and energy.
This national discussion also has created a great deal of introspection here at Truist. As we work toward building a more equitable society, we must consider our own past and acknowledge the role our heritage companies played over 100 years ago to perpetuate the atrocity of slavery and the repression of enslaved people, leading to systemic disadvantages their descendants have endured for generations. This includes our early institutions, which had close ties to industries of that era that profited from slavery. We deeply regret and denounce these shameful aspects of our history, both known and unknown.
Our internal dialogue on these issues has been authentic, raw and even uncomfortable at times, but incredibly valuable for our entire organization. During several conversations with our teammates at Truist, I’ve learned my awareness reflected only a partial understanding of the injustices African Americans experience throughout their daily lives. Some of the stories I’ve heard have been incredibly moving and deeply upsetting. While I understood there were serious inequities in our country, I now understand the issue in a more profound way. As a company, we're ready to move past words to tangible, measurable actions to affect long-term change, and those changes start at home.
To help us advance equity in a thoughtful way, we’re leaning into several new engagements. An internal working group, led by two members of our Executive Leadership Team and including the leaders of our African American Business Resource Group, has been launched to help us understand all aspects of this issue. We’ve also asked several key community partners to help shape and guide our long-term actions, and the Truist Board of Directors is actively engaged on this issue. I'm sincerely grateful for these influential voices who will share their honest and direct perspectives, questions and ideas. We’re committed to listening and learning from them and many others.
While this acknowledgement of our early history is difficult, our organization has also demonstrated a sincere commitment through the years to affect positive change and stand for equity in the communities where we live and work. Some examples are:
With the additional scale created through the combination of BB&T and SunTrust, Truist has also committed to lend or invest $60 billion to low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers and in LMI communities over a three-year period from 2020 to 2022. As a concrete example of our bank’s commitment in supporting its communities of color, the plan outlines the bank’s significant community investment goals for low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas, rural areas and minority communities, including:
I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together, but there’s much more work to be done. In the coming months, we'll announce an expansion of our efforts to advance equity, economic empowerment and education. For our clients, this means significantly enhanced support for Community Development Financial Institutions to lend to diverse and women-owned small businesses as well as increased investments in nonprofits and initiatives focused on the African American community. For our teammates, this means an acceleration of inclusion and diversity within our own company along with more accountability for our long-term progress. And for our communities, this includes strategic philanthropy to organizations that promote equity, justice and the advancement of Black-owned businesses as well as a greater investment in historically Black colleges and universities.
At Truist, we reject hate and discrimination in all their ugly forms. Our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities motivates us to build a stronger, more equitable company and society. Let’s move forward, create meaningful change and provide hope for a world that needs it more than ever. Working together, I believe our best days are ahead.
Truist Chairman and CEO
*Truist Cares is a cooperative effort between Truist Financial Corporation, Truist Foundation, Inc., and Truist Charitable Fund to provide communities, organizations and individuals disaster relief and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.