An open letter from our CEO

As the fight against social injustice continues, there is a heightened awareness and importance for Juneteenth, the national commemoration of the end of slavery. To honor this important date, we closed our branches and offices at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020.

We are an organization that believes in the equitable treatment of everyone and we take a firm stance against racism and oppression. This is an essential element to our culture and a pledge that we support in our daily practices.

My journey at Great Western Bank began on March 9th, moments before our world changed forever. In my first 3 months I focused on introducing myself to the organization and learning from our employees what makes GWB special. An inclusive culture has been a priority for GWB and the team has built a solid foundation. This foundation, though, began before COVID-19. Before the damage inflicted on our economy. Before Mr. Floyd’s unjust death and the generational pain brought to the forefront. Before.

The reality is that our past practices, while meaningful, are not enough. Overcoming the seemingly insurmountable issues facing our society requires intentional change. Inaction is not an acceptable answer.

Our action started last Friday when, in addition to our observance of Juneteenth, we created a Paid Volunteer Day for our employees to utilize as another day of reflection and to assist in enacting meaningful social change in our communities.

So while our foundation was built before global health concerns and before the uncomfortable truth of inequality echoed throughout our nation, this is our turning point. Because together, rather than focusing solely on what happened before, we can BE FOR change. We can BE FOR holistic inclusion. And we can BE FOR greater impacts within our organization and our communities. We will get the basics right, we will be authentic and respectful, and we will do the right thing.

Mark Borrecco
President and CEO

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