Corporate Responsibility

When someone asks what Pinnacle stands for as a bank, who we are as the people who make up this firm, we can describe our culture, talk about having a heart to serve and explain what we mean by "distinctive service and effective advice."

In the end, though, it comes down to our seven values, six of which were here at the beginning and one (the last) that was added after the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Integrity
  • Learning
  • Fairness
  • Partnership
  • Results
  • Balance
  • Discipline

These are the guiding principles that our firm was built on. They inform the culture, the way we treat people, the way we do business and the actions we take to improve our communities.

Their powerful influence is the reason we have always felt the phrase "corporate responsibility" is inadequate. Companies our size have a duty to be good citizens and help support the communities they serve and beyond. Our drive to do good isn’t born from a sense of obligation or responsibility. It’s a fundamental part of who we are.

"Doing the right thing" is the standard practice at Pinnacle—the minimum expectation for behavior and decision making. That applies to working with clients, fellow associates, business partners and the community at large.

This is what we’ve always done, indeed why we were founded.

2020 put our values and our commitment to doing the right thing to the test. Could we find the right balance between protecting our firm and taking care of our clients? Could we give associates what they needed during the pandemic while pushing forward with our business priorities? Could we rise to the challenge our nation faced to make real progress toward racial justice and greater equity?

See Pinnacle’s full Corporate and Social Responsibility Report for 2020.

Even more than the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of racial justice has perhaps the greatest potential for long-term impact on our country.

Diversity & Inclusion

Pinnacle has always believed in fairness—it’s one of our values, after all—and we assumed that included diversity of all kinds.

In 2019, it became clear that we needed to put that on paper, to say it out loud so our commitment to diversity and inclusion could not be questioned. So we developed our first written diversity and inclusion policy, as well as a public statement of what we believe.

What we realized in writing it down, and later in hearing cries for racial justice erupting across the country, was that we were not yet living up to our commitment. Our senior leadership team had no racial diversity and little gender diversity. Our leadership team of 93 had just 3 percent racial diversity and 23 percent gender diversity. Our board had just one African American, who was also one of only two female directors.

You didn’t have to look hard at our own numbers to see things were not fair. No one at Pinnacle set out to be unfair, but like so much of the country, our passive attitudes on diversity and inclusion meant that our workforce and client base weren’t reflective of our communities. We needed to have more intention and strategy behind our work, or we wouldn’t make any real progress.

So we took our beliefs on diversity and inclusion and put them into action once again. We began honest conversations firmwide about issues you’re not supposed to talk about in polite company. We asked associates to talk with their colleagues about politics and race, and more importantly, we told them to listen, to attempt to deeply understand another’s perspective.

If we are a firm built on partnership, fairness and integrity, and if we have truly built a culture where coworkers love and care for one another, we should be able to have tough conversations that lead to greater empathy and understanding of another’s point of view.

We also hired our first diversity and inclusion officer in Eddie Alford, a 15-year Pinnacle veteran who helped design and administer our leadership development programs. Eddie’s charge was first to listen to how our associates felt and what they thought we needed to do differently. Taking that, he developed a strategic plan that would lead to tangible outcomes for diversity and inclusion at Pinnacle.

Now it’s everyone’s job to execute that plan, all 2,600 associates, with Eddie’s guidance and accountability.

There’s not an area of the firm this plan doesn’t touch, that Eddie won’t have a hand in moving forward. It’s not that he will develop an anti-bias training program and call it a day (though he’s done that, too), it’s that we plan for diversity and inclusion to be interwoven with everything we do to the point that considerations for D&I will become second nature, just another part of any decision-making process that happens anywhere in the firm.

Responsibility Reporting

Also in 2019, it became necessary to start writing everything down, reporting all the pieces of our firm that contribute to "the greater good." We never thought to do it before because it was just part of who we were. It all went unsaid and understood within the company that this is what we do.

What we found out is that others wanted to see it, too, to try to quantify the effects of our culture, our hearts to serve and our philosophy of doing the right thing.

We produced Pinnacle’s first Corporate Social Responsibility Report and released it in March 2020. It’s a difficult task to count up your own good works and try to measure good intentions. Any attempt will always fall short of the complete picture, and until there is a universally accepted reporting standard, CSR reports will always leave unanswered questions.

Still, it’s quite something to see it all gathered together, because we can take our works as a whole and see they come from literally every part of the firm. Everyone here is engaged in the activities described within, representing the beliefs, actions and, yes, values of every single associate.

Pinnacle’s CSR report is one way we draw a straight line from our values to our outcomes, making our culture tangible.

Outcomes for Our Communities

in contributions to community causes and nonprofits
committed investment in community development to support affordable housing, small business and minority-owned institutions
in home loans for low- to moderate-income individuals
in funding for low- to moderate-income housing through the Community Investment Tax Credit program
in lending through Freddie Mac for affordable and underserved markets
associate volunteer service hours

Outcomes for Our Associates

retention rate
agree Pinnacle’s culture is truly special
say they are comfortable expressing opinions on issues that are important to them
say the leadership team shows a genuine interest in their well-being
spent by associates to WOW one another with tokens of appreciation
hours of leadership development training

Outcomes for Our Clients

strongly agree that we are recognizably better than the competition
contacts received in our Client Service Center
of Client Service Center calls answered by a person within three rings
Greenwich Best Brand and Greenwich Excellence Awards for service to small business and middle market companies
viewers for virtual workshops on PPP, pandemic-related financial advice and other personal and business topics

Outcomes for Our Shareholders

in revenue
deposit growth
loan growth, including the Paycheck Protection Program

Response to 2020 Challenges

We live our values every day of every year, but 2020 put all seven to the test. You can see a complete list of how we responded to the varied crises of 2020 on our timeline. Here are a few that show our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


Pandemic Response Team meets weekly in preparation for protecting associates and clients.

  • Opens dialogue between associates, the CEO and other senior leaders on racial justice issues, including internal blog series on listening, empathy and care for each other.
  • Commits to escalating diversity and inclusion efforts and improving concrete outcomes for the firm to be "the most fair place to work in the country."
  • Commemorates Juneteenth by closing offices early on Friday, June 19.

Appoints first diversity and inclusion officer, who joins the leadership team and begins work with a series of listening sessions with diverse associates across the firm.


Begins meeting with market leaders to discuss diversity and inclusion initiatives to include hiring pipelines, succession plans and potential new leaders.


Presents first draft of Diversity and Inclusion Strategic plan, with measurable goals and priorities for swift implementation.


Names 33 associates to the leadership team, marking an immediate improvement in gender and racial diversity.