How Liberty Bank's Support for Employee Activism on LGBTQ+ Issues Informed a DEI Plan

Jun 29, 2021

2 min read

Liberty Bank in Hartford, Connecticut, has boosted employee engagement by aligning itself with causes near and dear to its staff, including participation in a variety of Pride Month activities.Among those is an ongoing partnership with the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective.

"We've come to realize we can only do so much from sitting in our offices and our branch locations," said Marisol Rodriguez, diversity and inclusion officer at the $7.2 billion-asset bank. "Organizations like the HGLC are out there doing the day-to-day work every single day and serving the diverse needs of our communities."

After sponsoring the HGLHC's annual gala, Liberty got more involved with HGLHC when employees began making donations and planned an upcoming virtual event during which the nonprofit’s leaders will provide a private briefing on the organization’s work.

"What we want to do is give our employees an understanding of how they can volunteer with the HGLC and continue to support them beyond our sponsorship dollars," said Rodriguez.

Employees also spurred the bank to get involved as a sponsor for the Middletown Pride Parade. While some other financial firms also sponsor the event, no other FIs sponsor at the same level as Liberty.

Rodriguez said the bank's focus on community work is a product of employees expressing interest in giving back. On dress-down days,  staffers donate $5 each to a local charity for the opportunity to wear jeans to the office on a Friday. It has all become part of the culture.

It's notoriously difficult for banks to quantify whether their sponsorship dollars have resulted in new business and Rodriguez said it’s unclear whether Liberty’s partnerships have boosted the bottom line. But the values demonstrated through these external partnerships and through staff activism are informing the creation of a broader DEI strategic plan. That document is still in development.

"We do feel that it has an impact on recruiting, retention and engagement from our employees because they support what we’re doing and, truthfully, it's what they've asked us to do," said Rodriguez.

With 4.6% of residents identifying as LGBTQ+, Hartford’s ratio of LGBTQ+-identified adults is on par with Los Angeles.