Corporate Sustainability

The Chairman, President, and CEO of TrustCo Bank Corp NY and its subsidiary, Trustco Bank, Robert J. McCormick, explained in a letter to shareholders TrustCo's perspective on corporate sustainability:

Investors increasingly are focused upon corporate sustainability. This means different things to different people, but for us, the meaning is clear and the state of our achievement of it is readily ascertained. Beginning in 1902, Trustco Bank built a venerable financial institution on a foundation of quality banking products delivered at a fair price. Upon that solid foundation, and with the support of investors like yourselves, we constructed and refined an efficient and modern bank that remains committed to the same bedrock principles. In other words, the means and methods have changed, but the heart of what we do has not. By any definition, it is fair to call that sustainability.

To be specific on means and methods, we have improved and enhanced our technology from the platform through which we originate loans, to the teller platforms in our branches where we take deposits, to the mobile devices that enable our customers to easily integrate banking into their busy daily lives. Importantly, all of this has been done with keen focus on data protection. We have adapted the way we do business in order to sustain the core franchise.

Of course, the effort is dynamic and the real-world attainment of it is realized only through the implementation of fresh ideas. What follows are some examples of the things that TrustCo does every day to bolster its sustainability and, in the process, drive long-term shareholder value. If you have questions or comments about the information provided, or the company's efforts in this regard, please contact General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Michael Hall, at [email protected].

Mentoring Program

Seeking to better understand and address a need in the bank's human resources area, Chairman, President, and CEO, Robert J. McCormick, began a mentoring program through which he had a group of newly- hired assistant managers report directly to him for their first 10 weeks on the job. The assistant managers regularly met with Rob one-on-one for mentoring and professional development. The participants also received specialized job training. The program was extremely well received by the managers, the Human Resources Department, and the Branch Administration Department in which the managers ultimately worked. The program has been expanded so that, in addition to Rob, all of the bank's Executive Vice Presidents now mentor new assistant manager-level employees in the same way. The professional success, job satisfaction, and retention of program graduates has been monitored and preliminary results are excellent. More than 40 people have been mentored through the program.

New York Financial Literacy Course

CRA Presentation

In December 2019 the Bank partnered with a Schenectady County not-for-profit, Northern Rivers, to develop a financial literacy course for their clients. Bank staff met with Northern Rivers to determine specific topics the audience was interested in learning more about, then developed course content to meet their needs. Northern Rivers was pleased with the first presentation and hopes to have the Bank present annually in the fall for each new group of clients.

As presented on the agency's web site, Northern Rivers is family of human services agencies providing help and hope to those who struggle with abuse, neglect, trauma, mental health challenges, educational difficulties, career training and employment, and service navigation through an innovative continuum of home-, clinic-, school,- community- based, vocational rehabilitative, supported employment, and senior-supporting programs that provide person-centered, trauma-informed innovative solutions to ensure clients live their best lives.

Northern Rivers has a 190-year heritage. Their 1,400-strong workforce provides services for 16,000 children, adults, and families throughout 41 counties in New York State.

Emergency Savings Initiative

Responding to published research, Trustco Bank is seeking to do its part in helping people overcome the barriers that result in the average American household being unable to handle an emergency expense of $400 or more. In developing this program, Trustco is first looking inside the company at things we can do for our own people. Our intention is to then look at rolling out a program to assist our business customers to help them bring similar programs to their employees. We also anticipate also having components of the program aimed at individual bank customers.

This program is seen as an ideal sustainability initiative because it will create quality of life improvements for our people, enhance human capital management (including retention), and bolster long-term shareholder value by increasing core deposits and multiple-account customer relationships.

New Team Member Welcome Program

Based upon feedback received during employee interviews by our Human Resources Department, Trustco Bank has initiated a "Welcome Call" program. Newly hired employees are welcomed to the company with a personal phone call from Chairman, President, and CEO Robert J. McCormick. Additionally, a company executive meets, in person or by video conference, with each new group of employees completing an orientation or training program. The purpose of these interactions is to communicate to the new team members that they are valued by the company.

Follow up conversations have revealed that this personal touch creates a better work environment, accelerates the employees' assimilation into the workforce, and motivates employees to commit to their jobs and thereby facilitates retention. Retaining employees in whom the company has invested orientation and training contributes to the financial success of the enterprise by saving the cost of repeat training and increases the level of experience and expertise of our people.

Dream Savers Account

Trustco Bank is in the process of introducing a new type of savings account to help individuals save money. Trustco Bank will offer various incentives to encourage customers to start savings. The account will be funded via automated transfer from an existing Trustco Checking Account. Once a certain goal is met through the automated transfer process, the customer has the option to receive discounts on multiple Trustco Programs as long as the funds are used from the Dream Savers Accounts.

Incentives include:

  • Trustco will waive the mortgage application fee (value at $299) if Dream Saver Account funds are used as a down payment on a house.
  • Dream Saver Account holders receive the lowest auto loan rate when account funds are used to buy a car.
  • Trustco will waive the satisfaction fee if Dream Saver Account funds are used to pay off an existing Trustco Mortgage (value at $75).
  • Trustco Financial Services Department Fees reduced to 75 basis points for the first six months if funds are transferred to a Gallery Account.
  • Trustco will reimburse the account holder for a college application fee and standardized testing expenses paid with Dream Saver Account funds (Valued at $100).

Florida Financial Literacy "Reading Time"

Financial Literacy

Trustco Bank's Lake Nona, Florida Branch Manager goes to local schools and daycare centers to read a book about saving money. The manager makes it very interactive by asking questions and teaching kids words like "Savings Account" and "Deposit." Robert's work recognizes that it is crucial that young people start saving money at an early age for their future, so he explains things like working hard and receiving rewards. In the reading sessions, he and the children discuss a scenario where a child works hard for a new game and opens up a Savings Account at his local bank where he receives a passbook to manage his account. The manager reports that he has had tons of fun reading this book to Pre-k all the way to 4th grade students.

Electric Car Use and Support

Kona Electric Car

Trustco Bank installed its first electric car charging station at its headquarters complex in Glenville, New York in 2017. As part of a larger effort to limit carbon emissions and fuel consumption by reducing the number and frequency of trips by couriers to the bank's branches in the Northeast Region, Trustco Bank has deployed a new all electric car in its fleet of vehicles. Plans are in the works to install electric car charging stations in strategically located branches throughout the network.

BSA-AML Certificate with SUNY Schenectady

BSA Program

In September, Trustco executives, joined by officials from SUNY Schenectady County Community College, presented a certificate to a Trustco Bank Risk Department Manager. The certificate recognizes the manager as the first person to complete the newly created certificate in Bank Financial Security and Money Laundering Prevention offered by SUNY Schenectady. The program was created through the combined efforts of the bank and the college in a unique partnership. The certificate program, which has been approved by the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department, is believed to the first of its kind in the nation.

Trustco also supported the effort with a $10,000 cash donation to the school for use by its Business, Criminal Justice, and Law Department and for scholarships to assist students in paying for program participation. Further demonstrating its commitment to the undertaking, as part of its ongoing effort to recruit and retain the finest talent, Trustco is paying the tuition of its employees who enroll in the program. Fifteen individuals have enrolled so far.

Trustco Chairman, President and CEO Robert J. McCormick originally conceived the idea for the partnership. Mr. McCormick said "We at Trustco Bank could not be more proud of this great achievement. We are pleased to present this certificate to recognize this success and express our appreciation for the hard work, determination, and academic accomplishment that it represents."

With respect to the program, Mr. McCormick said "Trustco Bank is deeply connected to all of the communities it serves and SUNY Schenectady is its equal in terms of having a strong community-based foundation complimented by a much broader vision." The courses that make up the Certificate Program are offered online and are, therefore, available to students nation-wide.

The Federal Reserve Bank requires employees at U.S. financial institutions to be trained on the Bank Secrecy Act aimed at assisting government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering. While the new Certificate program is designed to train current bank employees to detect instances of money laundering and fraud in personal and commercial accounts, it is ideal for anyone interested in professional opportunities in banking industry forensics.

"Our new partnership with Trustco Bank is a fine example of how the College responds to the needs of the workforce," said Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady. "The certificate program benefits not only students, but the banking community and public, as we educate students about anti-fraud practices."

The certificate program includes courses in accounting, business, law, and computer applications. Students take a culminating course covering the Bank Secrecy Act. That course is taught by Lynn Hallenback, who holds a masters degree in accounting and is a Senior Officer in Trustco Bank's Accounting Department. After completing the certificate program, students will qualify for employment in an anti-fraud division at a financial institution or may continue their education toward earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in Accounting or Business Administration.