Washington Financial Bank, Woodforest National Bank® honored at 23rd Annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium.
Wolters Kluwer’s Compliance Solutions business today named Woodforest National Bank, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, and Washington Financial Bank, based in Washington County, Penn., as winners of its 2019 Community Impact Award. The award honors financial institutions for the breadth and innovative application of community development programs to benefit low- and moderate-income communities in which they do business.
The announcement was made at the company’s 23rd annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Orlando, Fla.
Woodforest National Bank (Woodforest) was recognized for its Woodforest FoundrySM initiative, founded in 2017. The program is facilitated by entrepreneurs to support other entrepreneurs, acting as mentors to activate local entrepreneurial ecosystems, which revitalizes underserved communities and helps grow businesses. With the Woodforest Foundry, entrepreneurs find trusted guidance from peers, Woodforest bankers and community partners. The first Foundry prototype initiative in San Antonio is now complemented by sites in Aurora, Ill., Louisville, Ken., and a newly launched program in Austin, Texas. Additionally, Woodforest also offers ENTREPRENEURSHIP 4 ALLSM, part of the Woodforest Foundry, through its in-store branches located inside the nation’s largest retailer.
“The Woodforest Foundry’s initiative is gaining momentum across Woodforest’s 17-state footprint, and Woodforest appreciates Wolters Kluwer giving us time on the mainstage at last year’s CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium to educate others on this initiative,” says Doug Schaeffer, EVP, CRA Executive Director, Woodforest National Bank. He continued, “Thanks to Wolters Kluwer for recognizing the impact this initiative has on our local communities to support entrepreneurship. We encourage others to join us.”
Washington Financial Bank was recognized for three community development initiatives. “The Education Partnership” provides school supplies to schoolchildren in need. For the past several years, Washington Financial Bank has “adopted” a local school, using funding provided through The Washington Financial Charitable Foundation and employee volunteers to create 450 “Power Tools Homework Kits” that bank employees personally distribute to Washington Park Elementary schoolchildren. The bank’s lead sponsorship and employee volunteer efforts for “Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh” provided low-income homeowners with critical home repairs, accessibility modifications, and energy-efficient upgrades. Among the multiple financial literacy initiative the bank supports, its own “Making Money Make Sense” program provided both monetary and volunteer support to area organizations to educate youth about topics like saving, banking, credit scores, taxes and investing.
“Our financial literacy efforts alone provided 1,472 hours of education to 890 children this past year,” noted Brooke Gawlas, CRA Officer, at Washington Financial Bank. “These efforts reflect our commitment to serving others; there is no better way than to offer a helping hand to those most in need.”
“These two institutions illustrate how banks can positively impact the communities where they operate in very meaningful ways,” said Timothy R. Burniston, Senior Advisor and Principal Regulatory Strategist at Wolters Kluwer. “We are honored to recognize their commitment and caring toward those they serve.”