When Truist was created through a merger of equals, the leaders of the country’s now seventh largest financial institution were clear the new company would be built on purpose. 

In a session at Inc.’s Purpose Power Summit 2022, Truist Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers explained how the company’s commitment to purpose--to inspire and build better lives and communities--has not only spurred innovation and led to the development of new products and services, but energized teammate engagement. 

Unleashing innovation

To help put purpose into action, Truist’s brand-new Charlotte-based Innovation and Technology Center (ITC) combines the latest in financial technology--fintech, in industry lingo--in a facility that also houses innovators in residence, design teams, engineers, client experience and journey specialists, and others who focus on both immediate client needs as well as how the company can evolve to serve its clients and communities more effectively, Rogers says.

The ITC, which opened in late 2021, also includes customer service and research personnel who connect directly with clients to gather feedback and information about future needs, he adds. When team members are supported in this way, they can better find opportunities and solutions. 

Another area seeing the company’s purpose--to inspire and build better lives and communities--spur innovative results is its corporate social responsibility and environment, social, and governance (ESG) commitments. With the issuance of its first ESG Bond, and the expansion of advisory teams in the bank’s commercial and investment banking divisions, Truist is leveraging all parts of the business to deliver on its purpose.

Developing new products and services

Prioritizing purpose has also led to successful business initiatives. Rogers points to the large-scale role Truist played in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). “We started that process and said, ‘If we want to make a difference for our communities, we have to figure out a way to participate at a level that’s above anything we’ve done,’” he says. The company moved 5,000 of its teammates from other activities to work on the PPP onboarding portal and helped clients get access to the loans they needed to help weather the pandemic’s challenges.

Focusing on the needs of individual clients and listening to their feedback also led to the development of Truist One Banking--two new accounts that empower clients to take more control of their banking needs and avoid overdraft fees. Truist One Checking provides a simpler checking experience with no overdraft fees, easy ways to waive maintenance fees, and, for eligible clients, a buffer for accidental overspending. The Truist Confidence Account, the new alternative checkless account, provides consumers with access to mainstream banking services with no overdraft fees.

As new products are developed, the team continually collects feedback from clients. Such interaction helps them spot areas for improvement and better meet client needs, Rogers says. 

Improving teammate experience

The pandemic revealed that many teammates need more flexibility to manage work and personal matters harmoniously. In response, Truist established an approach the company now calls intentional flexibility, which means its teams take the lead on the areas of flexibility they need, including remote and hybrid work, when possible.

“It’s not one-size-fits-all. Every unit has individual needs, as well as corporate needs,” he says. By being purposeful about gathering and allowing teammates the flexibility they need, Rogers says there is greater incentive to spend time together in the office when the opportunity to do so arises. 

Purpose drives performance

“Purpose and performance are inextricably linked. The performance comes with our commitment to build better lives and communities,” he says. When teammates know the work they do matters, they’re more motivated to see the company succeed, Rogers says. 

In essence, “everything we do every day is inspired by our purpose. That’s the motivating factor. If I work a little harder and I’m a little more effective, I can help more people and have a more positive impact on the community,” he says.

Truist was the result of a merger of two purpose-driven equals. Prioritizing purpose guided a successful merger and resulted in a culture of innovation. That foundation of purpose is producing client-focused products and services as well as an enhanced teammate experience, all of which is making Truist more competitive in the marketplace.