Insight & Analysis

Press Release: Latest strategy for corporate cash? Investments for social good ease ESG pressures

Published: Mar 2021

1st March 2021 – As pressure from stakeholders for corporations to make good on ESG commitments mounts, treasury departments flush with cash are increasingly moving meaningful amounts into investments in struggling communities and racial and gender equity.

Newspaper press release

No one’s yet tracking this centrally, but a not-yet-published CNote survey of community development financial institutions found that over 37% of these CDFIs have seen increased interest from corporations, and at least 15 corporations have invested or committed $500,000 or more to CDFIs in the past year.

Several factors are driving this shift:

  • Investing in CDFIs is a fast way to support leadership and board goals on diversity, inclusion and racial justice – for example, Mastercard sees its $20 million investment in CNote’s Promise Account as a key part of its commitment to racial equity and small business advocacy.
  • Fintech is making it easier to invest efficiently in community banks and credit unions by decreasing time and cost, and unlocking opportunities that treasury managers once found prohibitively complex.
  • These investments generate impact reporting that shows real human and societal results.
  • Internal staff and board diversification has inspired changes at all levels of many organizations that previously may not have paid much attention to the impact of their cash strategy.

Cat Berman, CNote’s co-founder and CEO (and a former Charles Schwab managing director) can share insights she’s gained from conversations with CFOs and corporate treasury leaders about their changing approach to cash management.

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