awards

Brian T. Moynihan
September 18, 2017

Thank you Robert for the introduction. Thank you, Rabbi Schneier and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for the recognition. And congratulations to the other honorees tonight – Paul and Masa. I’m grateful to accept this award tonight on behalf of all my Bank of America teammates, including the more than 10,000 who work here in New York City. We are all encouraged and inspired by the work of Rabbi Schneier and the foundation. The foundation provides a voice that protects those who need it most. The foundation's statement of its work reminds me of one of the most meaningful things I learned in law school. Professor Robert Rodes taught us jurisprudence. One day after a semester of taking us through some of the seminal decisions on human rights and discrimination he saw that we all were puzzled. We all sought some technical legal explanation for the rule of law - nuanced decisioning. My professor scoffed at our complexity and said it is simple. … People ought not to treat people that way. Or said in the simple Judeo-Christian principle: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is what Rabbi Schneier and the Foundation promote in the world. …that is what we are here to honor tonight… So how does a bank and a bank CEO have relevance to this topic? Bank of America follows a straightforward purpose: To help people live their financial lives successfully. It is an honorable thing to serve. My role as CEO is to ensure that challenge is met with excitement by our teammates every day. Yes we need to deliver for our shareholders, and we do that. But we have to balance all constituencies….doing a great job for our clients and customers, being a great place to work for our employees, and sharing our prosperity with the communities we serve. How do we do it? How do we balance all that? We call it driving responsible growth. Responsible growth has four tenets: First, we have to grow….growth says we are succeeding at our purpose. The second tenet - we have to grow consistent with our basic customer-driven principles of fairness and access to financial services. Our third tenet is that we have to grow balancing our risks. We can't take too much risk….We saw that in the financial crisis and we will not do that again. Finally - we have to be sustainable. And that is what is most relevant to tonight. What do we mean by being sustainable? First…we have to operate well….so that we can invest in innovation, in capacity to serve, in new products and in new markets. Meeting quarterly expectations simply has to be balanced against investing for the long term. Second, a core part of being sustainable is that we also have to be the best place for teammates to work. That means the core things companies must do well --- training, career development efforts, and many other basics. Importantly, it also means our diversity efforts. Our company is recognized for its diversity efforts with awards from outside groups. But that is not what determines our success. Our success is determined by our diversity AND our inclusion. How do we define inclusion? We define it the way a young teammate told us to. A decade ago, that teammate said, “I want to come to work and not have to leave who I am at the door and pick it up on the way home.” And that we adapted as our definition How do we ensure that happens? Through our affinity groups – voluntary associations of employees….involving 90 thousand teammates around the world…. Through our executive networks. Through our diversity and inclusion action plans for every business. Through the personal commitments of business leaders. And…uniquely….we do it through what we call courageous conversations. These are conversations we sponsor about events in society that teammates are dealing with. Is it right to have these discussions? To sponsor them? To encourage them? It is not only right, it is imperative. Let me give you a few examples why… The Charleston citizens murdered in a church because of their race was horrible. We had to do what we could to help a community heal. Some of the victims were relatives of our teammates. After the Pulse Nightclub, again we had to help that community heal. But we also had teammates inside the club who performed heroic acts to help others all while being targeted for who they are. The demonstrations in Charlotte after a citizen shooting by a police officer not only paralyzed that community, they in fact took place outside our headquarter building. The Dallas police shootings racked that community also. It took place outside our building in Dallas. We have clients and teammates who have come forward to report their need for help on domestic violence. And our headquarters state passed a law which caused fear in our LGBTQ teammates. These are a few examples. We have 200,000 employees and serve communities across the country and the world….We are affected by all the issues that affect the world and these communities… So we have those conversations at work…just like broader society should have those conversations. Not in 140 character tweets, or blog postings, or nightly news abbreviated 2-minute stories… …but deep engaged conversations, so that tolerance and dignity and constructive work can come out. So what does a CEO do to help those conversations along? He mostly gets out of the way so the discussions can happen. He provides resources… He participates himself and he encourages his management team to participate. And if we do all of that…If we can have those courageous conversations, I think we can get closer to meeting our inclusion goal. So that is our second part of being sustainable…being the best place for teammates to work. And that brings us to the third element of being sustainable…is to share our success with our communities. Our annual charitable giving of nearly $200MM per year. Our teams volunteer over 2MM hours per year. Over the last five years or so, we have donated more than 5000 homes to military members and first responders. Almost half went to military. We invest billions of dollars in loans to small business and community development funds across America. We drive our $125 billion environmental commitment to help drive the change from old energy to new clean energy. We are halfway through our environmental commitment. And whatever the status of the Paris agreement in the US, it does not stop our drive forward. Another way we share our success in our work around the world is what we have done with RED for progress in eradicating transmission of HIV in Africa from a mother to a child. And another way is our support of public media and the Arts. We offer access to museums around the nation with Museums on Us. And, last night on PBS, the first episode of Ken Burns’ new film on Vietnam aired. We are very happy to be his sole corporate sponsor and we have been for a decade. In addition to all that, I am proud to represent my teammates as a member of the council for The National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened in Washington, DC just one year ago. This is an important museum that was 100 years in the making. The African-American experience is a story that had to be told. And the museum came to life due to what some might think was unlikely duo, that of John Lewis and President George W. Bush. I’m pleased to say that we are working with the African American museum and with the Holocaust Museum in Washington to explore ways to create a series of courageous conversations around the country over the next year. To have this same type of conversation we have inside – on the outside Why do this? Conversation allows for perspective. Perspective creates understanding. Tolerance creates a more just society. These aren’t new principles. They are the principles of the foundation we are all here to support. One of the things the CEO of a large public company tries to do is make sure that we operate according to our principles and values even during changing times. I have the honor to steward a great company that has been in existence for 230 plus years, and will be in existence long after I’m gone. I want you to think a minute about what 230 years means. Last fall when I was traveling around during the election and after I would get the inevitable question at each turn, "Hey what about this election, it is a wild one" It made me think about all the issues our company has faced in 230 years. We’ve been through wild elections before. That one in 1800 was something else The point is we don’t change what we believe when governments or government policies change. We simply do a great job for our clients and customers, create returns for shareholders, and support our employees as well as our communities. And we do that by focusing on responsible growth and its key tenet of sustainability. Thank you again for honoring Bank of America. On behalf of my teammates, I am proud to accept this honor.

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