ESG/Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

At NBT, our responsibility to all our stakeholders—including our customers, communities, employees and stockholders—and our commitment to good corporate citizenship are based on the principles of community banking that have guided us for over 165 years. The highlights featured here are some of the many ways we are focused on what matters.

ESG Commitment

Our Board of Directors recognizes that Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) principles are important to the company's various stakeholders, including stockholders, customers, communities and employees, and desires to drive positive social and environmental impact. The Board further believes that the Company's reputation for integrity and corporate responsibility are bedrock principles and the ESG framework provides an opportunity to define, measure and highlight our values to the Company's stakeholders. Accordingly, the Board has committed to the following:

  • Oversight of ESG matters at Board level and active participation and monitoring of the Company's ESG efforts within the Nominating and Governance Committee;
  • Commitment to each of the three pillars with action plans for each pillar;
  • Regular assessment of existing ESG practices within the Company and identification of opportunities for further development; and
  • Public disclosure of the Company's efforts and measurement of progress and results.

We welcome feedback on how we are doing and invite you to submit comments to [email protected].


The Company is focused on the environment and committed to business practices and activities that encourage sustainability and minimize our environmental impact. Paper reduction and recycling efforts in 2023 equated to saving 4,462 trees, and NBT’s fuel consumption has decreased 64% since 2019. In larger facilities, the Company conserves energy through use of building energy management systems and motion sensor lighting controls. In new construction and renovations, the Company incorporates high-efficiency mechanical equipment, LED lighting, and modern building techniques to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible. The Company has an ongoing initiative to replace existing lighting with LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.

The Company facilitates the delivery of a financing product to homeowners on a national basis, which provides an opportunity to power their homes with sustainable solar energy and reduce their carbon footprint at an affordable price. Our Commercial Banking Division also provides financing for solar projects. NBT had nearly $944 million in outstanding consumer and commercial loans to support solar projects at year-end 2023.

Services like mobile and online banking, remote deposit capture, electronic loan payments, eStatements and combined statements enable us to support all customers in their efforts to consume less fuel and paper. We continue to digitize loan origination and deposit account opening processes, reducing trips to the bank and paper documents for our customers. Across our footprint, we host community shred days with multiple confidential document destruction companies to promote safe document disposal and recycling.

Social: Supporting Our Communities

The Company is engaged in the communities where we do business and where our employees and directors live and work. We live out our core values of community involvement through investments of both money and the time of our volunteer employees.

Through our active contribution program, administered by market-based committees with representation from all lines of business, the Company contributed more than $2.0 million in 2023. Our teams’ efforts to distribute philanthropic resources across our footprint ensure alignment with local needs and support for hundreds of organizations that provide health and human services and promote education, affordable housing, economic development, the arts and agriculture. One example of our commitment to support impactful local initiatives is our relationship with Colgate University and support for their VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. NBT’s support of this program enabled over 800 families in need to receive free assistance with tax preparation. This program returned more than $6 million to Chenango and Madison counties in New York since 2020.

In addition to corporate financial support of community organizations and causes, employees are encouraged and empowered to volunteer and be a resource in their communities. They invest their financial and other expertise as board members and serve in roles where they offer direct support to those in need by engaging in all manner of volunteer activities.

Social: Promoting Financial Health

The NBT CEI-Boulos Impact Fund, a high-impact commercial real estate equity investment fund established by NBT Bank and CEI-Boulos Capital Management, announced its first equity investment in 2023 that will provide affordable, workforce housing and a grocery store for residents in Troy, NY. The Flanigan Square Transformation Project is an approximately $75 million socially impactful, environmentally conscious, transit-oriented and community-informed project to transform the 500 block of River Street along the Hudson River waterfront in the historically underinvested North Central neighborhood of Troy. The NBT CEI-Boulos Impact Fund made a $3.84 million equity investment for a majority ownership stake in two of the three components of the project.

The NBT CEI-Boulos Impact Fund, LLC launched in 2022, is a $10 million real estate equity investment fund with NBT Bank as the sole investor. The fund is designed to support low- and moderate-income individuals and communities through investments in high-impact, community-supported, commercial real estate projects located within NBT Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act assessment areas in New York. A Social Impact Advisory Board was also appointed to review proposed investments based on each project’s social and environmental impact, alignment with community needs and community support. Areas of the fund’s targeted impact include: projects that support job creation; affordable and workforce housing; Main Street revitalization/historic preservation developments that do not contribute to displacement; developments that serve nonprofit organizations; and environmentally sustainable real estate developments. We are also committed to helping the individuals in our communities develop their financial health.

The Company offers a comprehensive array of financial products and services for consumers and businesses with options that are beneficial to unbanked and underbanked individuals. Deposit accounts include low balance savings and checking options that feature minimal or no monthly service fees, provide assistance in rebuilding positive deposit relationships, and assistance for those just starting a new banking relationship. The NBT iSelect Account was introduced in 2021 and has been certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards since its inception. Over 11,000 NBT iSelect Accounts have been opened. These accounts feature no monthly charges for maintenance, inactivity or dormancy, no overdraft fees and no minimum balance requirement. An enhanced digital banking platform incorporates ready access through online and mobile services to current credit score information and a personal financial management tool for budget and expense tracking.

The Company is focused on making home ownership accessible to everyone in the communities we serve. We have a long history of supporting affordable housing initiatives by financing construction projects for over $890 million that have created over 6,500 affordable housing units. Our suite of home lending products features innovative and flexible options, including government guaranteed programs like Federal Housing Administration, USDA Rural Housing Program and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans. In addition, we have many internally developed offerings, including our Habitat for Humanity, Home in the City, Portfolio Housing Agency and Portfolio 97 programs. Our home lending team includes affordable housing loan originators, and we maintain longstanding relationships with affordable housing agency partners across our banking footprint that offer first-time homebuyer education programs and assistance with down payments and closing costs.

We recognize that small businesses are essential to our local economies, and we support them through an active lending program. In 2023, we had a 13% year-over-year increase in the number of small business loans with outstandings of over $660 million as of December 31, 2023.

EPIC Retirement Plan Services is the Company’s national benefits administration firm. EPIC RPS offers customized consulting, recordkeeping, actuarial and administrative services for all types of retirement plans. The firm has deep partnerships with clients across all 50 states and is “Helping America Retire” with over 375,000 retirement plan participants nationwide.

An important measure of our commitment to our customers and our communities is the high marks we receive from our customers. In 2024, NBT Bank was listed as one of Forbes' 2024 World's Best Banks, and was the highest ranked bank in New York. This is the fifth time in six years NBT has earned this recognition.

Social: Powered by Our People

The Company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (‘‘DEI’’) strategy aims to enhance diversity within our organization, making us more innovative and effective at meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve. The Company utilizes a variety of approaches to maximize diversity within each pool of candidates through both internal and external recruitment practices. It is the Company’s belief that these efforts will provide equitable opportunities and contribute to improved products and services, better customer engagement and, ultimately enhanced stockholder return. In 2023, 65% of NBT managers were women.

Both grassroots and executive sponsored strategies continue to be critical to our DEI initiatives. Executive sponsored strategies support leadership opportunities with cross functional/geographic teams and panel discussions for employees and our communities hosted by our affinity group, NBT Empowerment, in support of women’s empowerment and being your authentic self. We have philanthropic goals to support our communities and, in 2023, we established a specific budget for DEI-related contributions. We supported our communities with financial contributions for the first Pride Festival in Chenango County, NY and a program to bring urban youth to the Black Baseball exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We made our second contribution in a five-year commitment supporting a LGBTQ+ youth community center in Portland, Maine. Our DEI Inclusion Roundtable supports grassroots efforts focusing on raising awareness of various cultural and diverse interests. NBT Communities is an internal social media forum where employees with similar interests across the footprint can connect and get to know each other around a variety of topics. The Company has a DEI steering committee comprised of members of the executive team, including the Chief Executive Officer. The DEI plan is shared with the Board, management, and employees, who are often included in implementing specific action items. More information can be located on the NBT Bank website at:

The Company’s focus on investing in our people includes key initiatives to attract, develop and retain our valued employees. Talent acquisition and more importantly, retention, continue to be top priorities, especially in the post-pandemic environment, and considering the current challenges in the labor market. An Employee Referral Program was implemented in the third quarter of 2022. In 2023, 84 qualified referrals were made by employees, equating to 28% of the total new employees hired. 88% of referred employees continue to be employed.

The Company offers total rewards that address employees at various stages of their personal lives and careers, including financial wellness programs, undergraduate and graduate tuition, paid parental leave, more flexibility in work schedules, paid leave benefits and a retirement transition option. The Company’s incentive programs recognize employees at all levels and are designed to motivate employees to support the achievement of company success, with appropriate risk assessment and prevention measures designed to prevent fraud.

While our employee retention rate remains consistently high, we continue to place significant effort toward retaining our valued employees with career planning conversations, an ongoing coaching process, goal setting, individual development plans and enhanced communications all play a part in employee satisfaction. In the first quarter of 2024, we administered our Employee Engagement Survey. The results from the survey will be used to define specific initiatives to enhance engagement around the organization, including clarity with respect to our business strategies, decision making and corporate led development.

The Company’s main priority is to attract and retain top talent by encouraging and promoting internal development. All employees have access to the LinkedIn Learning Library, which is intended to make learning and development accessible in a concise, easily consumable format that enables employees to get the development they need to achieve individual career aspirations. Currently 80% of our employees are active in the learning library and are taking full advantage of this resource with 2,814 courses completed in 2023.

In addition to the library, there are distinct training and development programs strategically designed to attract top talent early in their careers and to further foster the growth and retention of our high potential and emerging leaders. These programs have been designed to meet the objectives outlined in our succession plan. Our Management Development Program aims to attract diverse talent, primarily college seniors by offering accelerated career advancement and mentoring with senior executives. The Company also offers two programs designed for high potential employees, one for employees with prior professional experience and another one targeted to our more experienced employees with direct leadership responsibility. Both programs include a mentor, a coach, 360-degree feedback, individual development plans, presentation skill development and increased visibility to executive leadership. The programs accommodate delivery in both remote and in person learning environments, made possible by utilizing our Microsoft Teams technology which was implemented across the Company to strengthen internal communications, collaboration, and talent development. To support career development, we employ an internal career manager to work as a liaison with employees and managers. The Company also has a robust annual talent review and succession planning process that includes the Board and senior management.

NBT is honored to be consistently recognized as a “Best Place to Work” across our banking footprint. Our employees have participated in independent surveys resulting in recognitions in Central New York (third consecutive year), Vermont, Connecticut and New York’s Capital Region.


We are dedicated to being a financial industry leader in corporate governance and business ethics. The Company’s Board is composed of individuals with diverse professional and business experience. All our directors, other than our Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of Strategic Integration, are independent. They all share a commitment to fostering an effective risk environment coupled with a strong internal audit structure. Their unwavering commitment protects our clients, stockholders and reputation. We currently have a Proxy Advisor Governance Score of “2” from ISS Corporate Solutions.

Our Code of Ethics reflects the Company’s expectation for the conduct of our directors, officers and employees. Through recurring training and disclosures, as well as periodic communication related to specific topics, the Company maintains the highest level of ethical conduct. In 2023, 99% of NBT employees completed Ethics training, and 100% completed Information Security training. The completion rate for the Board of Directors for both Ethics and Information Security training was 100%.

Our Board believes that a fully engaged Board is a strategic asset of the Company, and that knowledgeable and fresh viewpoints and perspectives are important for informed decision-making. The Board regularly evaluates whether it collectively has the right mix of skills, experience, attributes and diverse viewpoints necessary for it to drive stockholder value. The results of this evaluation are used to help identify the desirable skills for potential Board nominees and to screen director candidates. In the past four years, the Board has nominated four new directors to the Board, three of them diverse. The Board is 23% gender and ethnically diverse with two women directors and one African American Director. The Board will continue to seek and recruit highly talented and diverse director candidates in the future, as we expect several Board positions will become available through natural refreshment due to the Company’s age of 72 retirement standard.

In addition to the foregoing commitments, our Board of Directors believes in strong governance practices, including:

  • A non-classified Board with annual director elections;
  • Maintenance of independent committees of the Board with independent chairs and an Independent Lead Director;
  • Regular executive sessions of the Board of Directors independent of management; and
  • Meaningful stock ownership guidelines for directors.

Finally, our Board understands the importance of aligning performance with compensation. Our compensation philosophy and programs for executives are balanced and risk appropriate, demonstrate long-term alignment with sustained performance and stockholder interests, and provide a competitive and effective program to attract, motivate, and retain the best talent. In 2023, 96% of NBT shares voted to approve the compensation of our named executive officers.

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