“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.”
These stirring words were spoken by arguably the greatest leader in the history of our nation; a man whose bold thinking incited perhaps the greatest progressive revolution of all time; a man who so cherished the sacred principles of freedom and justice for all, of equal rights for every man, woman and child, he gave his life for that greatest cause.
As we celebrate Presidents' Day here at Amalgamated Bank, we are forever inspired by the heroism of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington—both through their words and their deeds—and like every individual and organization we serve, we also aspire to live by our better angels. President Obama and the leaders of Congress worked incredibly hard to “do good” in 2010, advancing critical legislation and creating new standards of honesty, diligence, and transparency in the financial services industry, all to prevent a return to the corrupt practices which enabled the Great Recession. We can only hope they, like Lincoln, “felt good” from taking action to protect the public trust and to create a level playing field with equal opportunity for all.
Today, as our current administration begins to roll back the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the revolutionary statute which helped sustain the global market economy and safeguarded the investments of all Americans through an historic crisis—we all have to ask ourselves how anyone could want to do this, especially when it’s opposed by a majority of Americans, according to most recent polling. There is no answer beyond the obvious: it is an attempt to help the rich get richer, at the expense of the working people of our country.
But this destructive effort will have absolutely no impact on how we do business at Amalgamated Bank, because we are committed to a higher standard: our own.
This is the very first of our Guiding Investment Principles: “All investments and investment management decisions shall be executed in the best interest of Investment Management Division clients and associated client beneficiaries.” Think about that; everything we do in our investment management must satisfy this very high bar, and must be consistent with this core commitment we make above all else.
As it did for Lincoln, it makes us all feel good as compassionate and caring human beings—both those of us who work at Amalgamated Bank and more importantly the customers and clients we serve—that we weigh environmental, social, and good governance factors heavily in making all our investment decisions. It makes us all feel good to know that together we are investing in new housing that will enable the most critical members of our workforce—the firefighters, the teachers, and the police—to live in the cities and towns they serve, in order to restore the sense of reassurance, comfort and Americana that comes with making them our friends and neighbors once again. It makes us all feel good to know that together we are investing in not just a carbon- and tobacco-free world, but in the process investing in a better tomorrow as well. We make these commitments and decisions today so our children and grandchildren can inherit the world of wonder, opportunity and sheer joy which has inspired our lives, and which they deserve to experience as well.
It makes us all feel good knowing we are able to create positive social impact and generate good returns for our investors at the same time.
But all of this is only possible because we are dedicated first and foremost to earning the great trust awarded to us everyday by our clients and customers. This is why we have been creating investments which serve their needs above all else for almost a century, and why we shall continue to do so always, regardless of which way the oscillating political winds may blow.