October 2017 - FHLBank Atlanta has a long history of promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization. We recognize that diversity of gender, race, generation, perspectives, backgrounds, talents, skills, and experience makes the Bank stronger, and believe that initiatives that foster a diverse and inclusive culture align with our strategic mission of maximizing value for our shareholder institutions.
During the past few years, we have formalized our diversity and inclusion efforts through policies, operating practices, education, and targeted deployment of resources. We pursue a multifaceted approach to diversity and inclusion within the organization, aligning our initiatives along four pillars: people, programs, suppliers, and capital markets. These pillars ensure that we embed diversity and inclusion throughout all business activities of the Bank, promote awareness internally and externally of our diversity and inclusion program, provide opportunities and build sustainable relationships, and allocate resources in alignment with our goals.
When people think of diversity and inclusion initiatives, they often first think of staffing representation, or products and services to serve diverse markets. Elements of diversity and inclusion that may not receive as much focus, but we believe are of equal importance to people and products, are diverse suppliers and vendors. At the Bank, we rely on our strategic suppliers and vendors to help us deliver the products and services that support our shareholders’ business needs. For example, we work with capital markets broker-dealers to issue debt, which provides funding for our shareholders’ borrowings. We also contract with numerous technology companies to help us build and maintain information systems we use to provide advances, correspondent banking services, and online account access to our shareholders.
Because these suppliers are critical to our business and the success of the cooperative, it is natural that they are part of our strategic diversity and inclusions initiatives. To further these initiatives, we maintain ongoing programs to expand our outreach and engagement with diverse suppliers and broker-dealers.
Diversity is a consideration in all of our new contractual engagements with suppliers. To promote inclusion of diverse suppliers in our contracting, we utilize a public online portal that enables diverse suppliers to register with the Bank and view contracting opportunities. We also participate in outreach activities in the diverse supplier business community.
Our supplier portal, which is accessible through our public website, makes it easier for the Bank and diverse suppliers to connect with each other. The purpose of the portal is to encourage diverse companies to become a part of our diverse supplier network, so that they may be considered for contracting opportunities. The portal provides information to suppliers to assist them in identifying contracting opportunities at the Bank. It also serves as a key resource for managers within the Bank in identifying diverse vendors and posting contracting opportunities when they arise. We encourage all diverse suppliers that may be able to serve any of the Bank’s purchasing needs to register on the portal.
Our outreach to diverse suppliers focuses on building awareness about the Bank and our purchasing needs and encouraging diverse-owned businesses to register on the supplier portal. We participate in local, state, and national events, including events hosted by the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council in Atlanta and Atlanta Diversity Management Advocacy Group, as part of these outreach efforts. Additionally, along with other FHLBanks, we are involved in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, one of the leading organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
Capital Markets Initiatives
The Bank is an active, regular participant in the capital markets as a debt issuer and investor in mortgage-backed securities. We work with numerous broker-dealers to issue debt, which provides funds for advances and other shareholder borrowings. These broker-dealers are critical suppliers to the Bank and the FHLBank System as a whole.
Through the Office of Finance, the FHLBank System promotes diverse dealer opportunities through increased access to debt programs, focused training for dealer sales and trading staff, and co-marketing programs with fixed-income investors. In addition, FHLBank Atlanta makes individual efforts to engage, develop, and strengthen relationships with diverse broker-dealers on both the asset and liability sides of our balance sheet. These efforts generally begin with initial meetings with diverse firms to educate them on the Bank and our balance sheet and strategy, and continue with ongoing dialogue regarding market activities.
Strengthening the Cooperative
Since instituting these various diversity and inclusion initiatives into our supplier and capital markets processes, we have grown our relationships and use of diverse suppliers and dealers each year. Last year we engaged with more than 50 diverse suppliers and nearly a dozen diverse broker-dealers. We have continued to expand these relationships in 2017.
Our success as a cooperative is based on our ability to serve as trusted advisors to our shareholders and help them solve key funding and risk management challenges. Our network of suppliers, vendors, and broker-dealers is critical to achieving these goals. Inclusion of diverse companies in this network provides a broad range of perspectives, experience, and skill sets from which we can draw to serve our shareholders’ needs, strengthening the cooperative and positioning it for long-term success.