Vice President of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Tell us about MetaBank and your role?
MetaBank was founded in 1954 with the express purpose of taking good care of our customers and employees. Since the beginning, we sought to address communities that were left out of the traditional financial system. Today, MetaBank works to increase financial availability, choice, and opportunity for all through our primary business lines, including Payments, Tax Services, Commercial Finance, Consumer Finance, and Meta Ventures.
I was hired to lead our ESG strategy and the related work. I also lead our community impact program, which includes a recently launched community impact model that focuses on charitable investments and volunteerism. At MetaBank, our mission is financial inclusion for all; we’re a mission-driven organization at our core, and that provided a great foundation for the ESG strategy and community impact of these efforts.
MetaBank’s mission of “financial inclusion for all.” What does that mean to you?
Financial inclusion for all is increasing access to financial products and services that will help improve the quality of people’s lives. Currently, there are people who don’t have access to the traditional financial products and services that so many others take for granted. Financial inclusion is about giving people an opportunity to participate in the economy in a way that will put them on a path to upward mobility and prosperity.
What are some examples of how you support the unbanked and underbanked population?
We strive to remove barriers to financial access and promote economic mobility by working with fintechs and third parties to provide responsible, secure, high quality financial products and services. Our Payments division works with these organizations to distribute prepaid cards, deposit accounts, and payment related transactions. Our Tax Services division increases choice for underbanked consumers by allowing them to receive refunds electronically or providing access to liquidity while waiting for their refund to arrive. Through these efforts and more, we are providing unbanked and underbanked customers with the financial empowerment they need to actively participate in the economy.
What were the impacts of the pandemic on the unbanked and underbanked population, and how did MetaBank address those impacts?
Many of the underbanked were hit the hardest by job furloughs and business closings during the pandemic. As the financial agent for the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s U.S. Debit Card program, MetaBank had an opportunity to support them. Through this program, and in collaboration with Fiserv and Visa, MetaBank distributed Economic Impact Payments (“EIP”) on U.S. Debit Card prepaid cards. We are proud to have helped distribute financial aid to many American families and to have an ongoing role in providing a safe and secure mechanism for individuals, including the underbanked, to receive their stimulus payments.
Tell us more about the new community impact model/program and how it fits into your ESG strategy?
Our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy is inherent in our vision of financial inclusion for all, and our team across the country is committed to making sure that our business reflects that. At Meta, the social pillar of ESG focuses on how we support our employees—everything from benefits to growth and development opportunities—as well as how we show up in the community.
With our new community impact model, we have an increased focus on areas that align with our core business and will help facilitate partnerships to which we can lend our expertise while learning more about the people we’re here to help. Our newly launched community impact program is an extension of that.
Our community impact program elevates the effectiveness and scope of our community investments programs, employee volunteer programs, and other forms of external engagement. Elements of that program include paid time off for volunteering, matching gifts, and partnerships that support our mission.
You can learn more about our ESG efforts in Meta’s 2020 ESG Report.