In August of 2019, a group of 181 CEOs of some of the largest American corporations, as part of the Business Roundtable, released a statement of modernized principals of the roles of a corporation. These principals state that a corporation needs to focus on delivering value to customers, investing in its employees and allowing for diversity and inclusion, dealing fairly and ethically with its suppliers, supporting the communities in which the corporation works along with the environment of which it is a part, all while creating long-term value for shareholders.
The business world is coming to realize that by addressing this extended list of stakeholders companies are more successful over the long term. You can’t make profits for shareholders if you can’t provide a meaningful work environment for employees who are thereby motivated to provide quality products and services to customers that choose to do business with companies that take a stand on issues of importance to those customers. This realization fits in with other global initiatives, such as the United Nations Environmental Program/Finance Initiative and the UN Sustainable Development Goals that recognize that growth and development, and the financing of such, must incorporate the needs of the greater society.
All of this is very formal global-corporatespeak for what has been a simple, driving orientation behind Devon Bank’s business for nearly three-quarters of a Century:
If we take care of our community, our community will take care of us.
How do we define “community”? We include in our definition: Communities of shareholders, employees, and vendors. The people in our geographical communities. People constituting communities of interest. The physical environment that is our community.
What does this mean in practice? As captured in our mission statement, we aspire to:
- Respect the DIVERSITY of our communities
- Show RESPECT to those in our communities, and to our environment
- Provide SERVICE to those in need
More specifically, we try to lend responsibly, we invest in our communities and create tools to encourage and facilitate others doing the same, we try to lower our environmental footprint, we try to satisfy the financial needs of under-served populations, and we try to support the diversity in our communities in the ways diverse participants wish to be supported. We strive to be an employer of choice, and a preferred business partner. And yes, we still have the goal of making money for our shareholders, which we do not see as being in conflict with serving our communities.