Q: The past several years have been among the most challenging ever experienced by the banking industry. How has U.S. Bank responded?
A: The banking industry and, most importantly, client relationships are built on a foundation of trust and competence. When that trust is damaged, it takes time to rebuild. Through foresight and good fortune, U.S. Bank avoided most of the problems of the financial crisis. Nonetheless, our industry has been challenged, and it’s up to all of us to take responsibility and respond in a way that rebuilds trust and further strengthens our most valuable asset – the relationships we have with our clients.
We have approached this challenge on several fronts. In the communities we serve,
we have significantly expanded our support for programs focusing on financial literacy. We think it’s to our advantage to have a knowledgeable consumer, and we believe the education process needs to start at an early age. One of the more innovative initiatives we’ve undertaken is to team up with the Build-A-Bear company to launch a virtual bank on its “Build-A-Bear Workshop” website. It uses interactive games and online activities to teach kids about saving and budgeting. We are also very active in the schools, at local YMCAs, with Junior Achievement, and other community venues, answering questions and working to increase understanding of finance and banking and how the economy functions.
“There are few companies in anyone’s life that will be there for them as long as their bank.”
- Richard Davis
On the national level, we are supporting a new financial services roundtable initiative designed to help regulators and our elected representatives more fully understand and appreciate the vital role banks are playing in the economy and its recovery. The banking industry employs some 2.5 million people. Banks are part of the fabric of people’s neighborhoods and lives. Banks contribute millions of dollars to local charities and, perhaps even more importantly, many individuals across the banking industry contribute their time and their skills to charitable projects and endeavors.