The Virtuous Cycle in Ethical Omaha

By David Cota, First National Bank


Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel at the Business Ethics Alliance Fall Mind Candy Dialogue. If you’ve never attended an Alliance event, you ought to make a point of doing so—they put on programs that are truly unique in Omaha.

This event was the final in a series of Alliance programs about “doing good” in business. Throughout the fall months, they facilitated conversations about what it means to do business under a stakeholder model rather than a shareholder model—in short, making decisions based not only on generating profit but also on what’s good for the environment, what’s good for customers, what’s good for employees, and what’s good for communities. It’s about reimagining the purpose of business as not just an economic one but also a social one.

The way we at First National Bank see it, businesses have an obligation to their communities because no business operates in a vacuum. Companies that commit to taking care of their community and not just their bottom line put into motion a virtuous cycle: the business invests in its community, the community thrives, the community spends money at the business, and the cycle continues. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also just plain good for business. That’s why, in 2016, FNB committed $85 million in addition to 100,000 volunteer hours to be reinvested into the community by 2020. Our 2017 Impact Report shows impressive two-year progress toward those goals.

The Fall Mind Candy was a great experience. I was honored to serve as a panelist along with two other excellent leaders who shed light on the myriad ways we can all use business as a platform for taking care of the world we live in. The audience heard about the virtuous cycle to which FNB has committed itself, about how individual contributors can be empowered by their employers to make an impact in their community, and about the strategies that even small businesses can use to champion social good. I walked away with renewed inspiration to make Greater Omaha as great as it can be.

For FNB, this is part of who we are. It’s part of our strategy—our business DNA. The Business Ethics Alliance shows us that community responsibility is, in fact, at the core of how business is done in the heartland. They’ve worked tirelessly for more than a decade to make Omaha a beacon of business ethics, a place where community takes care of its businesses and businesses take care of their community.

First National Bank is with them all the way.