CHICAGO - As part of its commitment to supporting diverse businesses in the communities it serves, Exelon has entered into new credit agreements totaling $118 million with 30 minority and community banks in the Chicago and Philadelphia areas and New Jersey. The amount of the agreements represents a more than 25 percent increase over Exelon's 2010 arrangement for $94 million, which the new agreements replace.
"As a company that serves some of the nation's most diverse communities, Exelon views diversity and inclusion as a business imperative, and one that must involve the companies and individuals with whom we do business," said William Von Hoene Jr., Exelon executive vice president, Finance and Legal. "These banks help form the backbones of their local economies. By investing in them, Exelon is investing in the community itself - and that's good for our business."
The credit agreements provide Exelon and its subsidiary companies Exelon Generation, ComEd and PECO with additional sources of credit at competitive prices and added financial flexibility. They also deepen the companies' relationships with minority and community banks in Exelon's key markets.
The lead arranger banks for the credit agreements are Seaway Bank and Trust Company in Chicago, Riverside Community Bank in Rockford, Ill., and United Bank of Philadelphia. JP Morgan Chase serves as the administrative agent.
"This relationship directly benefits community banks and their ability to serve their customers, many of whom are small businesses," said Evelyn Smalls, president and CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia. "It also serves as a great example of how collaboration between Fortune 500 companies and community banks can serve as catalysts for economic growth in urban communities."
Exelon's minority and community banking program is the only one of its kind in the energy industry. The value of the credit agreements have more than tripled since Exelon launched the program eight years ago with a $36 million credit facility from eight community banks. New banks joining the program in 2011 include First Eagle Bank, Trans Pacific National Bank and Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago.
"Exelon's commitment to helping these institutions succeed goes well beyond the credit agreements themselves," said Matthew F. Hilzinger, Exelon senior vice president and CFO. "We periodically connect participating banks with other large companies that would like to partner with minority banks. Exelon also collaborates with these banks on a variety of community initiatives and creates opportunities for them to exchange ideas and best practices."
In addition to the community and minority banking program, Exelon makes a concerted effort to do business with diverse investment banks. Between 2007 and 2010, the company continuously increased its spend with minority- and women-owned investment banks, paying them nearly $9 million in fees. In addition, Exelon has approximately $700 million of pension and healthcare assets invested with nine minority- and woman-owned investment firms.
In 2010, Exelon also introduced an innovative program to measure and reward the diversity and inclusion performance of national and international banks and financial consulting companies with which it does substantial business. The company recognized banks and consulting firms that best exemplify these values by naming them to Exelon's first-annual diversity and inclusion honor roll.
Exelon has a demonstrated commitment to supplier diversity throughout its business and has made it a critical part of the company's overall supply chain strategy, contracting nearly $500 million per year in corporate spending with certified minority-and women-owned businesses.