Environmental, Social and Governance

Our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) areas of focus are organized around our associates, our communities, our clients and our shareholders.

Governance Across Peoples Bank

Our core values: The PEBO Promise Circle

Our vision at Peoples is to be the Best Community Bank in America. We are committed to conducting our business in a way that ensures that Peoples will be around for many years to come. Our actions are guided by our core values represented by the Promise Circle, which embodies how we do business, and our never-ending pursuit of creating value for our employees (or as we also often refer to them, “our associates”), our communities, our clients and our shareholders. Being true to these core values in the decisions we make and in our business practices is essential to driving sustainable long-term growth.

The PEBO Promise Circle:

Clients First

Integrity Always

Respect for All

Commitment to Community

Lead the Way

Excellence in Everything

How we support our associates

We are devoted to fostering the physical and mental well-being of our workforce and are proud to have been recognized by American Banker as one of the top 90 banks to work for in the United States in 2021, 2022 and 2023. We provide a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that supports the health and financial wellness of our people. Some common benefits offered to our associates include the following:

• Medical, dental and vision benefits for associates, spouse and dependents
• Flexible spending and health savings accounts for both healthcare and dependent care
• Wellness program with incentives for participants who meet certain criteria
• Company-paid life insurance for associates
• Short-term and long-term disability insurance for associates
• Paid time off for full-time and part-time associates
• Paid maternity and parental leave
• 401(k) retirement savings program with company matching contributions of up to 6%
• Employee stock purchase program allowing for the purchase of Peoples common shares at a 15% discount
• Student loan pay down program that pays up to $200 per month towards the associate’s student loan
• Tuition assistance program for associates
• Scholarship program for children of our associates, for college, community college or trade school
• Associate hardship and disaster relief fund to provide financial support to associates in need
• Employee Assistance Program providing free counseling services

We are also committed to pay equity, and we regularly review our compensation model to ensure fair and inclusive pay practices across our businesses. Some of our recent workforce investment highlights include establishing a company-wide minimum wage of $15 per hour and adding parental leave in 2022. We also added two additional annual scholarships in 2023 – bringing the total to four annual scholarships offered to children of associates – with a focus on technical or trade training for the two new scholarships. We provide educational offerings to colleagues believed to be suited for leadership roles within Peoples. We survey our associates to gauge their satisfaction and to solicit feedback, and management thoroughly reviews the results. Management addresses issues raised by surveys in a timely manner and provides regular progress updates as the survey results are used to continually improve the workplace for associates. In addition, the Peoples Professional Development Associate Program provides a unique opportunity for recent college graduates to immerse themselves in the financial industry and gain valuable real-world experience.

Our focus on the well-being of our associates and on having a first-class workplace resulted in Peoples being named a “Top Workplace” by The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com for 2023. This award is based on feedback from an employee engagement survey and is our 4th award in the last five years. We were also named as one of the 2023 Best Employers in Ohio by Crain’s Cleveland Business and a “2023 Top Workplace in Greater Cincinnati” by Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati.com. Finally, we were a 2023 recipient of the “Top Workplaces USA” national award, which is based entirely on feedback from an employment engagement survey completed by our associates. This was the second year in a row we received this award.

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Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities for training, compensation, transfer, promotion and other aspects of employment for all qualified applicants and associates without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status. A diverse and inclusive workplace begins with our core value of “Respect for All” – treating all associates and clients with respect. Our goal is to attract, retain and develop a workforce that is diverse in background, knowledge, skill and experience. As of December 31, 2023, women represented 70% of Peoples’ workforce.

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How we support our communities

At Peoples, we continually strive to use our knowledge, talents and resources to improve the quality of life in our communities. We are committed to making a positive and meaningful difference in the neighborhoods where we work and live. Therefore, we measure success not only in financial terms, but also in our ongoing actions, such as fundraising efforts, educational sponsorship, community development, food drives and partnerships with local universities. Our charitable giving occurs in two distinct areas – financial contributions and volunteerism – both of which are of equal importance and emphasis within our organization.

Financial Contributions

Peoples and our foundation, Peoples Bank Foundation, Inc. (the “Foundation”), collectively contributed over $2 million in 2023 in sponsorships and donations to charitable causes and organizations within the communities we serve. Contributions were made in the areas of economic development, youth and education, human services for low to moderate income individuals, arts and culture and environmental stewardship. Specifically, Peoples Bank Foundation awarded over $700,000 in grants and scholarships to non-profit organizations and local students in 2023. Peoples Bank made several donations in 2023, including $250,000 to Memorial Health Systems for a new Women and Children’s Hospital and fulfilling an annual pledge of $50,000 to Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery. Since 2020, we are extremely proud that our associates have donated over $500,000 from their own pockets to local area food banks. In total, the Peoples Bank Foundation awarded over 200 grants across eight states and Washington, D.C. in 2023. Since its inception in 2003, Peoples Bank Foundation has awarded over $7 million in grants and scholarships.

We are proud to have been recently recognized once again by MasterCard as a winner of the “Doing Well By Doing Good Award.” This award is presented to organizations that demonstrate a unique and meaningful approach in leveraging strategies that have positive impacts on local communities. This is the third time in four years we have received the award for making a difference and “doing well by doing good” in the communities we serve.


Peoples associates are encouraged to volunteer in their communities. We provide every associate with eight hours of paid time off to use for community service each year. Peoples Bank is proud to be able to support many events and organizations across our footprint, including youth sports and education programs, as well as community development organizations. There are Peoples associates with backgrounds in residential lending on affordable housing non-profit boards of directors in Cincinnati and Columbus, and there are Peoples associates serving as treasurers on local food banks and pantries that serve multiple states. Our associates regularly volunteer their time with local United Way organizations and serve on boards of other local non-profit institutions. In 2022 and 2023, we partnered with Cristo Rey High School in Columbus, Ohio to provide internships to low-income high school students. Supporting our communities is core to our mission, and we will continue to partner with, and strengthen our relationships with, organizations that share our values.

Learn more about our Commitment to Communities

Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Business Practices

We strive to operate our business in a sustainable manner and to be good stewards of the environment. With a view to increasing efficiency and reducing waste, we are continuing to digitize manual back office and financial center functions. We also offer digital delivery of banking services and electronic bank statements to reduce the amount of paper used in our business. In addition, we employ recycling collection bins for aluminum, plastic and paper, and we recycle toner cartridges and electronic equipment. During branch renovations in 2023, we donated approximately 200 pieces of furniture to non-profit and other organizations rather than sending these items to the landfill. We are adding solar panels to our branches in Jackson, Ohio and Brooksville, Kentucky, which will produce at least 90% of the average energy used at each branch, and we plan to install solar panels to additional branch locations in 2024. In 2023, Peoples continued its purchase of renewable energy production for a majority of its Ohio locations. Going forward, we will continue to focus on reducing paper usage through digitization, waste reduction and energy and resource efficiency in our facilities.

How we support our clients

One of our core values is Clients First. This means doing what is in the best interest and meets the needs of the client, and not pushing products. We are committed to meeting the financial needs of those in the communities we serve, including all low and moderate-income and minority areas within our communities. We have consumer lending products such as our Dreams2Keys program, which helps borrowers in a low- to moderate-income census tract or located in a majority-minority census tract gain homeownership. We offer many ways to avoid the maintenance fee on our checking and savings products. Peoples Bank closed 446 small business loans totaling $51.4 million in 2023. Most importantly, we are proud that Peoples Bank received a Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) rating of “Outstanding” on its most recent performance evaluation by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. This rating is reflective of our record of meeting the credit needs of the communities we serve, including low-income and moderate-income neighborhoods. We are also proud to have opened a new branch location at 5727 Madison Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2023 in a majority-minority census tract.

Meeting the needs of our clients also means providing excellent service and timely resolution of any issues or questions they raise. To that end, we established a Client Advocacy position in 2022 and a Client Experience position in 2023 to streamline customer complaint management and resolution and to drive the implementation of process improvements that benefit clients. We also made a significant investment in 2023 to implement customer relationship management software from Salesforce, which will help us to better connect with and serve our clients. In addition, in early 2024, we created an internal call center to support our client-facing associates in providing timely assistance to our clients.

In 2023, Peoples received many accolades for how we take care of our clients. The following are a few notable examples:
• Recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s Best Regional Banks 2024
• Finished in the top 15% in the United States in terms of SBA 7(a) approved loans
• Recognized as one of Cincinnati’s Best, being named a finalist for the Cincinnati.com 2023 Community’s Choice
• Named by Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague as a Compass Award honoree for the second quarter of 2023

Lastly, security of client information is always a top priority for Peoples, and we have established strong governance measures to protect the privacy and security of client information to ensure compliance with all privacy and cybersecurity laws and regulations through physical, electronic and procedural safeguards. We evaluate our cybersecurity readiness through internal reviews and external audits, as well as through regulatory oversight by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Financial Institutions.

How we support our shareholders

Peoples Bancorp Inc. (“Peoples”,Nasdaq: PEBO) is a member of the Russell 3000 index of U.S. publicly-traded companies. Peoples offers services through Peoples Bank (which includes the divisions of Peoples Investment Services, Peoples Premium Finance and North Star Leasing), Peoples Insurance Agency, LLC and Vantage Financial, LLC.

We believe that strong governance and sustainability oversight is essential to providing long-term value for our shareholders. In 2023, our stock dividend yield and stock payout ratio remained competitive as compared to our peers. We are committed to continuing practices that allow for this level of stock dividend. Furthermore, our one-year total shareholder return was 26% as of December 31, 2023.

Our corporate governance program provides a foundation for operating our business in a manner that is fair, ethical and responsible. Our Corporate Governance Guidelines reflect our Board’s commitment to sound and effective governance and serve as a framework for the governance of our company. Our Code of Ethics outlines our principles that help each of us make the right decisions when conducting business.

Over 90% of our directors are independent, which allows for our Board to provide objective oversight of management performance and overall risk management. Our Board is also diverse, with 54% of directors being diverse in terms of gender or race/ethnicity as of February 26, 2024. Our leadership structure consists of a different person serving as each of the Chief Executive Officer and non-executive Chairman of the Board, with the Chairman of the Board being an independent director. We believe this leadership structure allows the Board to provide effective oversight of management.

Peoples utilizes a comprehensive enterprise risk management framework to identify, assess, measure, monitor, report and control risks throughout the company, including ESG risks. The Risk Committee is comprised of all the independent directors of the Board, in addition to Peoples’ Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), and is responsible for oversight of our risk management processes. Our management-level risk committee, which consists of senior leaders at Peoples and reports directly to the Risk Committee, develops our risk appetite, monitors key risk indicators and assesses and monitors current and emerging risks. Peoples’ Chief Risk Officer oversees our enterprise risk management framework and reports directly to the Risk Committee and administratively to our CEO.

We believe our compensation programs and philosophy are appropriately designed to reward performance, protect the interests of our shareholders and provide appropriate incentives to executive management, while not encouraging excessive risk-taking. We believe that tying compensation to the results achieved is vital to the long-term sustainability of Peoples. 

While we are pleased to share our ESG story, we do, however, remain conscious of the need to continuously improve our ability to create value for our associates, our communities, our clients and our shareholders. Doing so is essential to achieving our goal of being the “Best Community Bank in America.” In 2024 and beyond, we will remain vigilant to maintain rigorous ESG standards, enhance our sustainability efforts and focus on implementing a best-in-class program.

For more info, including our latest investor presentation, quarterly earnings and dividends press releases, visit the investor relations site.

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