Best Corporate Steward: Capital One

The "Shared Value" Category

Excerpts from the nomination:

Capital One Financial Corporation is a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation’s top banks based on deposits. We recognize that healthy businesses and healthy communities go hand in hand.

As a business, we benefit when our communities thrive—and that happens when housing is affordable, schools are high performing, and small businesses are growing and creating local jobs. Our community engagement goes well beyond “checkbook philanthropy.” We focus on strategic, long-term community investments that catalyze economic growth through philanthropy, lending, and volunteering. That is why we call our approach Investing for Good, because our investment drives greater good in the community, and we’re in it “for good”—for the long haul.

Our Investing for Good model of engaging deeply in our communities helps drive our business strategy. By creating economic opportunities for residents and small businesses, we are changing the community context in ways that grow and support our markets — by growing our customer base, providing customers with greater opportunities to deepen relationships with Capital One, and supporting the economic stability of our regions.

Underlying Investing for Good are three core strategic business priorities that are critical for our public:

  • Affordable Housing: We believe quality, affordable housing is a key component to ensuring economic stability and success.
  • Education: College and career readiness through quality education is our nation’s great equalizer.
  • Jobs: When small businesses do well, communities thrive.

Our commitment to creating shared value helps to attract and retain top talent at Capital One. Almost 90 percent of associates report that they feel good about the ways Capital One contributes to the community. Additionally, associates consistently select “how Capital One contributes to the community” as a top five predictor of overall job satisfaction (ranking this higher than their managers or base pay). More than 50 percent of associates reported volunteering for the past three years—totaling more than a quarter million volunteer hours in 2012 alone.

Capital One executives view creation of shared value as a principal element of our business strategy. Our executives both guide the Capital One stewardship strategy and visibly lead by example through their involvement. Accordingly, 20 individuals at the highest level of leadership serve together in our Market President Network and help to develop and drive our local community engagements, serving as spokespersons, strategists, and chairs of local boards.

Capital One’s successful growth over the past decade was made possible by a solid reputation as a committed corporate and community steward. By consistently putting forth transparent business practices, keeping our customers first, and forging strong relationships with our nonprofit community partners, Capital One has continued to deliver results even during challenging times.

Consistently recognized as one of the nation’s leading corporate citizens, in 2012, Capital One was identified as one of America’s top five most community-minded companies in The Civic 50 survey. This was the first comprehensive ranking of S&P 500 corporations that best use time, talent, and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.

Capital One has significantly grown our community development lending and investing, even during the economic downturn, supporting affordable housing development and revitalization of LMI communities across our footprint. During the recession, as the community development loan market decreased 45 percent, we increased our lending by 270 percent. In 2009, we increased our community development lending by 22 percent, while the market dropped 52 percent. In 2011, we announced a new, forward-looking $180 billion, 10-year community investment commitment.

Our strategic integration of business imperatives and community commitment have delivered tangible, enduring returns for our communities, our business, and our associates. Below are some of the positive impacts:

  • Business Development: More than 82 percent of Market Presidents said through annual surveys that their business has increased as a result of opportunities gained through Capital One's community engagement activities.
  • Associate Engagement: In 2012, Capital One associates contributed more than 260,000 volunteer hours to communities, and more than 51 percent of our associate population now volunteers through our Investing for Good programs.
  • Reputation: In 2012, our stewardship efforts garnered more than 1.4 billion media impressions and consistent positive feedback from partners, community members and leaders and customers.

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