We have a role to play
The fallout of the financial crisis continued in 2011, affecting many people around the world and in the communities where we live and work. The current economic environment has prompted some to examine the global banking system, asking fundamental questions about the role banks play.
At the same time, the need for a stable international financial services system has never been greater. Volatility in global markets, risk of contagion in the euro zone, high unemployment levels across North America and increased levels of household debt can affect each and every one of us.
In these turbulent times you can hunker down, look inward, and protect your share. Or, in TD's case, take responsibility to be The Better Bank. In 2011, we continued our work to:
- Create real value: We grow the real economy by continuing to expand our support to businesses that play a crucial role in the prosperity of our communities. For instance, in the U.S., we've set a target to double our lending volume to small business – something we were proud to announce alongside Vice President Joe Biden. In Canada, we estimate that TD helped support 114,000 jobs and generated $10.4 billion of economic activity during 2011, through direct and indirect means.
- Be customer-driven: Our commitment to delivering legendary customer service sits firmly at the core of our business model. Great customer service also means supporting our customers in tough times. Our TD Helps program in Canada, designed to help customers impacted by the financial crisis, has now assisted more than 114,000 customers over two years.
- Build an extraordinary workplace: Employee engagement results continue to rise and TD was externally recognized as a Best Employer in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. To raise awareness of TD's corporate responsibility commitments, we launched two new state-of-the-art training courses – one focused on the environment, the other on diversity. We want our employees to feel engaged in what they do and empowered to make a difference.
- Be responsible managers of risk: TD's performance demonstrates that a well-managed and well-disciplined bank can be a positive force in our local communities and the broader economy. A principle that guides our business decisions is to "take only risks you understand and can manage," which goes beyond financial risk, and also applies to TD's social and environmental impacts. We enhanced our corporate responsibility governance by establishing the Corporate Citizenship Council at the senior executive level.
- Be diverse and inclusive: We've been working to identify and remove barriers and biases throughout TD's policies, processes and attitudes; and the results are starting to show. Over the last six years, the number of women in senior levels has increased from 22% to 35% in Canada. In 2011, TD was named as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality in the U.S. by the Human Rights Campaign.
- Be an environmental leader: We're embedding an environmental perspective across TD – with our sights set on our two biggest impacts: energy conservation and paper reduction. Through our carbon neutral commitment we continue to expand our retail business while reducing TD's absolute greenhouse gas emissions. We're applying green building design standards to new and existing branches and stores – including our net-zero buildings that are designed to produce more energy than they use. We're also taking steps to radically cut our paper use, and in 2012, will launch the TD Forest program, a community conservation initiative to increase the amount of critical forest habitat across North America.
- Make an impact: We want to make a lasting difference in the communities where we live and work. More than half of the $66 million TD donated was directed to organizations that focus on education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people, affordable housing and the environment. We empower our employees to take an active role, enabling them to volunteer over 19,000 hours on paid-work-time.
While TD has much to celebrate, we also recognize our challenges. As we expand into new regions, we find that some parts of our business are at different stages on the diversity journey. We remain committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture so that all employees can be their authentic selves at work.
The continued fallout from the economy has taught us that we need to do a better job of helping customers understand the implications of financial decisions and equip them to make informed choices. There are a number of financial literacy initiatives in progress across the bank and we're improving the support we provide through TD Helps.
Our commitment to corporate responsibility will not change. We are always working on new initiatives to make TD more sustainable, more relevant, more engaging and more involved in our communities. In other words, Building The Better Bank is part of everything we do.
Group President and CEO, TD Bank Group