Overview

A core value at Community Bank that is shared by the Company’s employees, executive leadership and Directors is active engagement with not only the Company’s customers, but the civic institutions, non-profits, schools and other organizations that comprise the communities where we live and work. As a community bank, we are committed to supporting volunteerism, implementing environmentally sound practices, working with small businesses, and serving the broad financial service needs of the communities in our geographic markets. In addition, we recognize that the development and support of the Company’s human capital is an essential element of the Company’s success. In 2022, we are focused on furthering our Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) strategy in alignment with our business and evolution of important topics across the banking industry.

Recent highlights of the Company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, support of our communities and employees and other ESG priorities include:

ESG Highlights

Human Capital Initiatives

 Commitment to appoint a Culture and Diversity Officer to lead the Company’s culture, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and contribute to elements of our ESG strategy.
 Launched a Company-wide employee engagement survey and program called “MyVoice” to foster a culture of open communication and feedback to enhance our employee experience and make Community Bank a best place to work.
 Continued support of the Company’s Culture and Diversity Council’s efforts to engage our entire workforce in advancing diversity initiatives and our ESG strategy.
 Developing future leaders through our Vital Leadership program to strengthen our succession and leadership capabilities.

Supporting our Communities

 Implementing initiatives in the Company’s vendor management program to expand the pool of vendors who are minority owned enterprises or have a history of creating opportunities for minorities, disadvantaged individuals or Veterans, or otherwise address the needs of underserved populations or communities.
 Donated over $2.3 million to charitable organizations in the Company’s footprint.
 Our employees volunteered over 8,000 hours of their time to over 600 non-profit organizations, including those dedicated to underserved and disadvantaged communities.
 Expanded digital banking services to include online consumer and small business loan applications to reach a broader and potentially more diverse population of qualified borrowers.
 Launching branch initiative to provide in-person tutorials to assist customers to transition to digital banking.

Environmental Sustainability Initiative

 Updating procedures in the Company’s vendor management program to initiate reviews and action plans with respect to third party vendors with practices that do not align with the Company’s ESG priorities.
 Exploring ways to reduce the Company’s environmental impact, including the possibility of establishing net zero data centers.
 Implemented internal digital workflow procedures for the mortgage lending process to eliminate the use of paper.
 Implemented digital mortgage pre-qualification and application process with 20% of current applications now submitted digitally.

Environmental, Social and Governance

In 2022, we are focused on continuing to build upon our strategy and initiatives with respect to Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) topics. We recognize the continuing importance of these matters and will continue to align our business strategies with these goals. We understand that a thoughtful, coordinated approach to ESG will support a healthier, more sustainable future for our stakeholders including our investors, employees, communities we serve, and customers. We expect to build upon our core values as a community financial institution and our core mission of serving the financial needs of our communities. We expect our developing ESG strategy will align with the nature and scale of our business in respecting the environment and the evolution of ESG principles in our industry.

Some of our specific efforts and commitments for 2022 are summarized below.



COMMITMENT TO OUR PEOPLE- HUMAN CAPITAL INITIATIVES

We recognize that our people are essential to our success and are committed to supporting the development and well-being of each individual in a collaborative and inclusive environment.

Role of Our Culture and Diversity Council. We are committed to having an inclusive environment for the Company’s workforce that enhances the culture of shared identity, civility, dignity, and respect. In 2020, the Company formed a Diversity Council (now expanded in scope and renamed Culture and Diversity Council) to provide strategic direction and an employee forum for diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Council’s members, consisting of 25 employees and 100 Ambassadors from various business units and geographic locations, all serve as representatives of our 2,900 plus employees to foster a culture of valuing diversity and inclusion through the development of ongoing Council initiatives. The Culture and Diversity Council has developed a set of initiatives to increase focus on: diversity and equity across the key areas of talent acquisition and retention; employee community service spotlights; senior leadership composition; a collaborative learning and development campaign centered on greater awareness of unconscious bias; and vendor selection development and monitoring. The Council also organizes a calendar of monthly events to celebrate and remember significant events in our country’s history, such as Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, Pride Month, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Native American History Month, Women’s History Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Autism Awareness Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month, in order to provide greater awareness and celebrate the diversity of our employees. Although sponsored by the CEO and supported by a liaison from the Board of Directors, the Council is led by employees from across the Company in order to be more responsive to the issues and concerns identified by our employees.



Watch the video above to hear more about our Culture and Diversity Council from Maureen Gillan-Myer, EVP Chief Human Resources Officer of the Company and Freddie Jacobs, NRS, Chief Operating Officer of Northeast Retirement Services, LLC, the Company's subsidiary.

Click here to see more about our Culture and Diversity Council and its current initiatives.

Appointment of Cultural and Diversity Officer. For 2022, the Company is committed to enhancing its commitment to diversity by appointing a Culture and Diversity Officer to lead the Company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. This individual will have a central role in creating, managing, and optimizing all efforts related to making the workplace a fairer, more-equitable environment for all employees. The Culture and Diversity Officer will also lead and coordinate key aspects of our overall ESG strategy.

Alignment of Management Incentive Objectives with Goals. In order to demonstrate the Board’s commitment to achieving the Company’s culture and diversity goals, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors, in reviewing management objectives for 2021, included a specific performance objective in the 2021 Management Incentive Plan which required the implementation and execution of an employee engagement survey for the purpose of formulating appropriate programs that will drive ongoing efforts towards a productive, evolving and diverse workforce. The Company completed this objective and implemented the employment engagement survey which is the first step in the Company’s process to increase employee engagement. In 2022, the Compensation Committee again included a performance objective in the 2022 Management Incentive Plan tied to increasing employee engagement and cultivating a dynamic and inclusive workforce with the use of the data derived from the 2021 engagement survey as a foundation to the establishment of an engagement program in 2022.

Commitment to Employee Engagement – Implementing “MyVoice Program”. The Company is committed to creating a world class workplace with highly satisfied and engaged employees. The Company believes that open and honest communication among employees, managers and executive leadership fosters an open and collaborative work environment where everyone can participate, develop and thrive. In November 2021, the Company launched a Company-wide engagement program called “MyVoice” resulting from the 2021 engagement survey which gauged employee sentiment in areas such as culture, career development, and manager performance, with 83% of the Company’s employees participating in the initial survey. The collective results from the survey highlighted that engagement, performance, and employee development are interlinked and interdependent. The Company’s primary objective in 2022 will be to provide managers with the tools to take daily responsibility for engagement and development by identifying and building individual team action plans from the engagement and performance data gathered from the engagement survey results. These action plans will be created at the local and department level by having frequent, meaningful conversations with individuals on their teams to identify and then take ownership of improving the workplace experience for their team.

Commitment to Our Core Values. Through its Human Capital programs, the Company has established the following set of core values to guide our employees and exemplify our commitment to each other, our customers, and the communities we serve:

The Company’s Human Resources function oversees and facilitates corporate-wide in-house and external leadership and professional development programs to provide various offerings that drive efforts toward a cohesive, evolving and diverse workforce. The focus is to bring self-awareness regarding biases and to drive behavioral change to build positive working relationships. Various programs, workshops and initiatives address key elements promoting inclusion, cultural diversity, gender equality, women leadership and development, and a multi-generational workforce. The Human Resources function utilizes a dynamic online learning platform, in conjunction with in person learning, that is available to all employees at its various geographical locations to deliver interactive educational and training modules. These educational modules, which are required for all employees, include training on diversity and inclusion, awareness of biases, anti-discrimination, and compliance. In addition, the system provides a vast library of industry-specific and development courseware to promote a learning culture and development of each individual’s potential. The Company also works to continue to broaden the scope of its talent development initiatives across our widening geographically diverse footprint in order to sustain a value-driven and growth-oriented environment where employees can perform at their peak and the next generation of leaders are prepared to lead. The Company’s Human Resources function offers a variety of programs and continuing education dedicated to strengthening employee engagement, personal accountability, productivity, and emotional well-being.

Commitment to Talent Management and Employee Development. The Company is committed to enabling a culture that celebrates talent sharing, career development and agility across the Company and generally posts all roles internally first before sharing them externally. The Company offers programs designed to develop each individual’s talents in an open and productive work place to develop its next generation of leaders. In 2021, the Company implemented a new Human Resources operating system which includes several features to support talent development, enhanced performance management tools, and other features that provide a more streamlined employee experience.

Click here to see more information about our “Work Happy” Mission and our commitment to our employees by providing the highest level of employee support, whether through our benefits, our professional development or our challenging but rewarding professional experiences.

Prioritizing Our Employees and Customers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As the COVID-19 challenges continued throughout 2021, the Company continued to implement various plans, strategies and protocols to protect its employees, customers and stakeholders. In order to protect its employees and assure workforce continuity and operational redundancy, the Company continued and adjusted as appropriate many of its protocols in order to conduct the Company’s operations in a safe and efficient manner. The safety of our customers, employees, stakeholders and communities will remain a top priority for the Company.

COMMITMENT TO OUR COMMUNITY- ESG INITIATIVES

We continue to look for opportunities to integrate sustainability and corporate responsibility into our business practices as we develop our ESG strategy to focus on delivering community focused products and services while creating long-term sustainable value for all of our stakeholders. Set forth below are some of the environmental and social initiatives we focused on in 2021 and early 2022:

Focus on Vendor Policies and Sustainable Business Operations. The Company holds itself to a standard of integrity, professional conduct, and environmentally responsible business practices. This allows us to establish trust with our employees, customers, stakeholders, and vendors. We expect the same level of commitment and conduct of our vendors as we focus on ensuring that we are operating in a socially responsible manner. This year, the Company is implementing an initiative as part of its vendor management program to increase the pool of vendors who are minority owned or have a history of creating opportunities for minority, disadvantaged individuals or Veterans, or otherwise address the needs of underserved populations or communities. This effort will be led by our Culture and Diversity Officer. We have also amended our vendor management policy to appropriately respond with respect to vendors where we identify that their practices do not align with our principles regarding operating in a socially responsible manner, including fair labor standards, acting responsibly with the security and confidentiality of our customer information, engaging in environmentally responsible business practices and acting consistently with our codes of conduct and ethical behavior.

Commitment to Helping Others. We remain committed to strengthening the communities we serve through employee volunteerism and corporate engagement and support with a focus on serving those who are underserved in the local communities where we do business. We do this through financial support, in-kind donations, community engagement, and volunteer service. The Company made over $2.3 million in donations, grants and sponsorships in the Bank’s footprint of Upstate New York, Northeast Pennsylvania, Vermont and Western Massachusetts in 2021. During 2021, our employees gave generously of their time and expertise by donating over 8,000 volunteer hours. They actively participated in over 600 causes and organizations, often by serving on the boards of leading community charities and organizations and supporting these organization in other ways.

Click here to see more information about our Community Involvement initiatives and our 2020 Community Report.

Commitment to Community-Focused Mortgage Banking. For more than 150 years, the Bank has focused on serving the financial needs of its customers. The Bank offers several lending programs sponsored by state and federal agencies designed to encourage first time home ownership, affordable home mortgages for those in lower and moderate-income groups, and mortgages for those living in rural areas that would not be eligible for traditional mortgage products. The Bank has expanded its mortgage marketing efforts to those who live in economically disadvantaged areas. In addition, the Bank offers a “No Closing Cost” mortgage product that facilitates the ability of borrowers to attain home ownership with a product that provides for the Bank to absorb mortgage related closing costs, such as filing fees, bank legal fees, appraisal, application, and underwriting/processing fees, provided that the borrower does not prepay the mortgage within three years of the closing.

The Bank has implemented a digital mortgage pre-qualification and application program that has been utilized by 20% of new applicants. This digital program has enabled the Bank to reach a broader and potentially more diverse group of qualified borrowers, including those who are banking at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commitment to Supporting Local Businesses. The Bank’s staff of consumer and commercial lending professionals are dedicated to servicing those living in under-served markets within the Bank’s footprint with the goal of promoting financial literacy and access to financial services and products. Because small businesses are engines for our local economies by keeping money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities, the Bank also works with government agencies to offer lending programs to small businesses and agricultural loan products. The Bank has financed business projects that help enrich and revitalize the communities where it operates, including financing for health care facilities, solar energy companies, farming operations, addiction counseling services, places of worship, ambulance companies, and community theaters. In connection with the United States Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), the Bank implemented a digital application process that enabled it to reach a broader population of small businesses. The Bank made over 5,700 PPP loans during the program’s duration. The goal of all of these efforts is to provide support and opportunities to cultivate robust communities for the Company’s customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Protecting our Customers’ Data. We are committed to providing a high level of customer care including measures to safeguard our customers’ data. The Company’s employees and business partners continually look for ways to provide the Company’s clients with enhanced product offerings while maintaining its cyber and information security controls to protect the Bank’s data, applications and networks. The Company has invested significant resources to address cybersecurity matters. We believe it is important for all employees to have an understanding of the risks and regulations for security and cyber activities and require employees to participate in on-going training programs on this topic.

Ethical Business Practices and Balancing Business Risk. Our Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct make clear our expectation for the conduct of our Directors, officers and employees. We ensure compliance with these Codes through training and monitoring so that we can maintain our track record of business success based upon the highest level of ethics and professionalism. Our banking employees are required to complete online training and testing to verify their understanding of the legal requirements, including training on unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices, fair lending, and anti-money laundering.

We also carefully monitor Enterprise Risk Management topics through our risk management team with Board oversight over the various areas of our business. We encourage active engagement among the different areas within the Company responsible for our risk management oversight. Through our risk management process and oversight by various Board committees, our governance structure ensures that appropriate information gathering and monitoring is in place to oversee the Company’s risks.

Environmental Initiatives. The Company supports environmental and sustainability objectives by encouraging recycling and responsible waste management practices, and energy conservation throughout the organization. We continue to evaluate opportunities to reduce energy consumption in areas such as facilities, equipment, and operations by moving to more efficient equipment, HVAC systems, lighting and use of technology solutions to reduce our energy usage. We recycle all of our electronics through appropriate channels to ensure that harmful substances do not pollute the environment. We are also exploring the possibility of transitioning our data centers to “net zero data centers” to minimize the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions derived from our centers by increasing our energy and water efficiency.

The Company has an ongoing initiative to eliminate paper from its work streams and move to completely digital documentation in its business activities where possible. The Bank provides and encourages the use of digital banking and e-statements to its customers, has expanded the use of online platforms for account opening, lending products, communications, remote deposit capture, and various statements and notices, as well as the use of digital workflow and processing in its internal operating and administrative systems. In 2021, the Bank saw a 23% increase in customers using its mobile banking app.

In 2021, as part of the Company’s initiative to transition to fully digital processes for certain business operations, the Bank migrated its mortgage documentation work stream to a fully digital documentation and storage process which significantly reduced the amount of paper used by the Bank. The Bank is committed to expanding its digital documentation initiative and adding new digital platforms to preserve natural resources and streamline its business processes.

COMMITMENT TO STRONG CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

The Board is committed to sound and effective corporate governance that conforms to the highest standards of business ethics and integrity, provides robust oversight of management and promotes the long-term interests of our Shareholders. The Board regularly reviews the Company’s governance practices, industry developments, and Shareholder feedback to ensure continued effectiveness. For more information regarding our corporate governance practices.

Click here to see our Annual Proxy Statement for more information about our corporate policies, practices, and procedures.

Governance Highlights. Below are selected highlights of the Company’s corporate governance program.

Best Practices. The Board and management regularly review best practices in corporate governance and are committed to a structure that fosters principled actions, informed and effective decision-making, and appropriate monitoring of compliance and performance. The Company’s current best practices are highlighted below:



The Company is dedicated to being a financial industry leader in corporate governance and business ethics. The Board is composed of independent Directors, other than the CEO, with diverse backgrounds who bring a wealth of knowledge and business experience to the Company. The Company has significantly increased the Board’s ethnic and gender diversity and the level of identified skill sets over the last three years.

From the top down, the Company is committed to fostering an effective risk management environment to serve the interests of the Company, its customers, and its Shareholders. The Board has adopted the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct to make clear its expectation for the conduct of our Directors, officers and employees. The Company ensures compliance with these Codes through training and monitoring so that the Company can maintain its track record of business success based upon the highest level of ethics and professionalism.

Board Composition and Refreshment. The Directors strive to maintain a highly engaged Board with balanced tenure and substantive expertise that has the diversity of skills and backgrounds necessary to effectively oversee the Company’s management team and serve the long-term interests of the Company’s Shareholders.

In December 2021, the Board added Jeffery J. Knauss as an independent director. Mr. Knauss has extensive experience in digital technology and marketing, having served as the CEO and co-founder of Digital Hyve, a digital marketing and advertising firm that was named the 52nd fastest growing private company in the United States by Inc. Magazine in 2018 and Digital Hyve remained on Inc.’s 5,000, a list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States, for the following three years. Mr. Knauss is Asian American and his appointment, along with the addition of Kerrie D. MacPherson in 2019 and Susan E. Skerritt in 2020, reflects the Board’s focused efforts to refresh the composition of the Board and foster a diverse composition of members.

A balanced Board composition, supplemented by a thoughtful approach to Director refreshment, is a priority for the Company. The Governance Committee considers the experience, skills, independence and diversity of nominees in the full context of the current composition and needs of the Board. The Governance Committee endeavors to identify nominees that possess diverse business experiences, skill sets, and geographic backgrounds reflecting the Company’s markets. In addition, the Governance Committee believes a stronger Board is one that reflects diversity. The Governance Committee also believes it is desirable to maintain a mix of experienced, tenured directors who possess institutional knowledge along with newer Directors who have different expertise, backgrounds and fresh perspectives in forming a cohesive and dedicated Board.

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