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Digital Banking

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corporate responsibility

Our Commitment to ESG

Grounded in the legacy of more than 200 years of community-oriented banking traditions, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Responsibility is naturally woven into the culture of our business. We invite you to explore the ways we are achieving our commitment to inclusive, responsible, and environmentally sustainable growth.

World with people standing in front

A commitment to our associates.

Our Five Star Promise is the shared commitment by our company and our associates to build a culture of teamwork, excellence and integrity. We are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, respected and appreciated.
  • Associate led Diversity and Inclusion Council
  • Modernizing our culture and talent management practices
  • Volunteer CARE team program
  • Robust health and wellness package

World with houses in front.Together today for a better tomorrow. 

Our company is dedicated to creating measurable impact within the communities we serve – from the picturesque towns nestled within the Finger Lakes region to the vibrant neighborhoods of Buffalo and Rochester, we are engaged.
  • Volunteering with United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement and GLOW YMCA
  • Charitable Investments in food banks, educational scholarships, and many more
  • Straightforward product offerings, community development and financial education

World with grass and flowers in front.

Promoting green investments.

We believe that a successful future for our company and the customers and communities that we serve is dependent on the sustainability of our environment. We design our operations to have a minimal impact on the environment and expect our vendors to do the same. Our green investments focus on increasing efficiencies, lowering operating costs, optimizing capital expenditures and adding value for our customers in areas such as:
  • Utilizing high-efficiency electrical equipment including LED and motion-activated lighting, solar panels, and high-efficiency HVAC units
  • Encourage environmentally friendly practices at our office locations in reducing water waste and the use of paper and plastics

World with balanced scales in front

Oversight, Transparency and Accountability

We are committed to achieving excellence in our governance practices and establishing a strong foundation for long-term success. We conduct our business in a fair, ethical and responsible manner. We are dedicated to earning and maintaining the trust of our customers, communities, associates, investors, partners and regulators.
  • Strong governance framework rooted in clear and transparent policies and codes of ethics that are updated annually to remain current for evolving risk
  • Robust oversight provided by six Board Committees with requisite subject matter expertise
  • Comprehensive information security and cyber defense program


Our Five Star Promise is the shared commitment by our company and all our associates to building a culture of teamwork, excellence and integrity. We are committed to continually building an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, respected and appreciated. We empower our associates to live our Promise and be an active part of evolving our culture. Some examples include:
  • Inviting associates to participate in annual and periodic engagement surveys that measure employee satisfaction and provide valuable feedback to leadership,
  • Supporting our associate-led Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (“D&I Council”) that recommends strategies for sustainable and impactful change,
  • Establishing a CARE Team (Community Action for a Responsible Environment) that enables associates to volunteer in the community and put forth ideas for further involvement,
  • Using our peer-to-peer recognition platform, The Five Star Experience, to celebrate each other’s successes, team efforts, and personal and professional milestones, and
  • Sharing ideas, diverse perspectives and personal stories to promote an inclusive and accepting workplace on our Culture Center internal webpage.
To maintain current and relevant culture and talent management practices, we will implement and maintain Human Capital Management reporting and practices to establish a foundation to enable leaders to better hire talent and manage teams, and regularly review and update standards for setting goals, performance evaluations, succession planning, and learning and development.

We will also regularly review our compensation programs to ensure fair and inclusive pay practices across our business and maintain our commitment to equal employment opportunity through a robust affirmative action plan which includes annual compensation analyses and ongoing reviews of our selection and hiring practices alongside a continued focus on building and maintaining a diverse workforce. Each year, the Board’s MD&C Committee will review performance of our affirmative action plan.

The health and wellbeing of our colleagues is a top priority and in recognition of this, we aim to provide a safe working environment and robust health and wellness package that we will continually evolve to remain competitive and meet the needs of our workforce.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (“DEI”)
We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities for training, compensation, transfer, promotion and other aspects of employment for all qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, disability, genetic information, or any other protected characteristic.

We believe that Board of Director diversity is an important element in effective governance. Board diversity results in a broad array of perspectives, talent and experiences. Our Board remains committed to diversity in terms of their individual members, experiences and areas of expertise. The pool of candidates recommended to serve on our Board includes female and racially/ethnically diverse candidates.

We take a comprehensive and multi-layered approach to attracting, retaining and developing a workforce that is diverse in background, knowledge, skill and experience, knowing that we are better together with our combined wisdom and intellect. This includes conducting intentional, strategic hiring to supplement the organization with new skill sets and perspectives, and the use of internal and external resources to recruit highly-skilled and talented workers. Developing and retaining a diverse workforce increases employee engagement, and by reflecting the communities we serve, we more effectively and competitively market ourselves to all segments of our community. We believe that our employees are our most important asset and we celebrate the rich diversity of thought, talent and experiences contributed by each individual.

Additionally, we find that supplier diversity is a beneficial business practice. We are committed to the support of businesses with ownership by minorities, people with disabilities, women, and veterans, as well as small businesses, and believe that this support improves the local economies in which we live and operate. If you are a minority, woman, disabled or veteran-owned company interested in doing business with us, we invite you to send us information regarding the products and services you offer by clicking here:

Our commitment to DEI includes focus on understanding, accepting, and valuing the differences between people. To further advance our DEI goals, we formed the D&I Council to foster an environment that values, welcomes, and facilitates the exchange of diversity of perspectives and life-experiences.

Our D&I Council informs our Chief Human Resources Officer on employment related initiatives and is charged with supporting sustainable and impactful diversity and inclusion practices, including:
  • Promoting a continuous focus on and commitment to DEI,
  • Identifying opportunities and developing proposals to address the unique needs and challenges of our organization,
  • Championing DEI by engaging and learning from our associates, and
  • Monitoring and communicating progress.
The Chair of the D&I Council reports material developments and recommendations directly to our executive leadership team.

We leverage several channels to maintain DEI awareness, encourage productive conversations, and exchange helpful information such as forums to provide opportunities for our associates to discuss initiatives, employee surveys, an internal blog, and periodic updates delivered on all-company calls, President Reports, and other internal communications.

We have adopted Board-approved compensation, anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, whistleblower and anti-retaliation policies that are updated and reviewed annually and make available an HR hotline where associates can make confidential and anonymous reports.


At Five Star, we have a responsibility to help support the success of communities we serve. Our company has a long and proud history in Western New York that goes back to 1817. Five Star Bank’s predecessor banks each operated in a rural area and played important roles in helping to meet the deposit and credit needs of traditionally underserved markets. We continue that mission today through fundraising efforts, educational sponsorships, community development efforts, food drives, and partnerships with local universities.

The STAR Program encourages employees to give back with the opportunity to work one day, fully-paid, volunteering in the community of their home or branch. Through our STAR Program and other actions, we will maintain our commitment to promoting, facilitating and coordinating company volunteerism that will have a meaningful impact on the communities that we serve. Additionally, we maintain a Community Reinvestment Act budget and make other donations that support our communities. Our employees support numerous community and professional organizations as volunteers, trustees, and directors. These employees provide hours of volunteer service every year above and beyond STAR Program volunteer hours. If your organization is in need of volunteers, email us at
Our Community Bank strives to deliver financial advice and education and ensure the availability and accessibility of safe, transparent and fair financial products, including a suite of products tailored to meet the needs of unbanked, underbanked and low-to-moderate income individuals in the communities we serve. Our Commercial Department actively assesses and supports financing for affordable housing projects with debt and equity financing, as well as historic tax credit community development investments.

Our Community Development Officer and team of community development loan officers build relationships and partnerships with community groups and civic and governmental leaders to identify and strive to meet the community’s needs for banking services. Another key focus of their work is delivering guidance on the path to homeownership in our urban markets, providing vital home buyer education and financial literacy training.

Charitable Investments
Five Star is proud to support countless organizations throughout Western New York. We make significant investments through various donations and community sponsorships across our geographic footprint including: 
  • Donations to Community Action Groups
  • Contributions to agencies providing housing services
  • Food bank donations
  • Donations to organizations providing educational scholarships
  • And many more. 
Community Grant Guidelines
Five Star is dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods by investing in areas that support affordable housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization and stabilization, and community services targeted to low -and moderate-income individuals and communities. Five Star accepts grant applications continuously throughout the year and may be submitted to our Community Development Officer, Karla J. Gadley at, using the attached form. Additional eligibility guidelines include: 
  • Tax Exempt Status/501(c) 3
  • Need for private financial support
  • An organization may apply no more than once a year
Five Star's Contribution Committee meets regularly to review and decision grant applications. We will attempt to share important updates during the process in addition to a final decision on funding.

Sponsorship and Donation Requests
Five Star also accepts sponsorship and donation requests for community events, festivals, youth sporting events, school functions, etc. to support the activities in the communities we serve. If you have a request of this nature, please visit a local Five Star Bank branch and talk with the Branch Manager.

Product Offerings, Community Development and Financial Literacy
Five Star's comprehensive product offerings include several products tailored to meet the needs of the unbanked, underbanked and/or low-to-moderate income individuals ("LMI") in the communities we serve, including programs to assist home buyers with grants and savings programs.

Access to a bank account provides households with the opportunity to conduct basic financial transactions, save for emergency and long-term security needs, build credit history, and access credit on fair and affordable terms. 

Our Community Development Officer is responsible for identifying Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) qualified community development activities throughout the Bank’s CRA Assessment Area. She cultivates strong relationships with local governments, community leaders, businesses and non-profits; manages the CRA grant intake process; and oversees the Bank’s participation in the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Program. Our CDO is an advocate for the coordination of services that contribute to improved outcomes for LMI individuals and communities throughout our footprint. In addition, a team of Community Development Mortgage Loan Officers play an important role in the execution of the Bank’s CRA program to promote home ownership education and increase access to residential loans and low-cost deposit product opportunities in LMI neighborhoods.

Environmental Responsibility

We believe that a successful future for our business and the customers and communities we serve is dependent on the sustainability of our environment, mindful that environmental challenges in general and climate change in particular present a significant threat to the stability of the financial markets we participate in, and a corresponding societal impact on the communities we serve.

We remain committed to minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment and demonstrating leadership by incorporating environmental considerations into our business practices. Through our dynamic strategic planning and robust risk and governance frameworks, we strive to seize upon prudent new business opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon society and incorporate environmental risks and manage them appropriately.

We also believe we can make a positive contribution by following prudent business practices that protect and conserve our natural resources. We embed the principles of advancing a circular economy into our practices through green investments and long-term implementation of new technologies and look for these commitments in the clients and businesses we serve.

We also exercise environmental sensitivity in our lending and business relationships and engage in prudent credit, underwriting, and sustainable procurement practices.
In conducting our operations, we continue to assess and act on investments focused on increasing efficiencies, lowering operating costs, optimizing capital expenditures and adding value for our customers in areas such as utilizing high-efficiency electrical equipment including LED and motion-activated lighting, solar panels, and high-efficiency HVAC units, and encourage environmentally friendly practices at our office locations in reducing water waste and the use of paper and plastics.

We believe that our focus on environmental sustainability, with the objective of reducing costs and improving sustainability of our operations, provides a strategic benefit to our company.

Five Star Bank’s treasury department will make a best effort to assess and act on prudent investment in environmentally beneficial business opportunities and factor in ESG considerations in such investment decisions.


As a publicly-traded community financial institution we are mindful of the importance of maintaining a governance framework that provides appropriate oversight, transparency, and accountability of our operations. We are committed to achieving excellence in our ESG governance practices and establishing a strong foundation for long-term success.

We continue to conduct our business in a manner that is fair, ethical and responsible, with an ongoing focus on earning and maintaining the trust of our customers, employees, investors, partners and regulators. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics helps to ensure that our directors, officers and employees comply with all applicable rules and regulations.

Our Board of Directors, currently consisting of 10 independent directors plus our CEO, is responsible for oversight of the management of the company and its business for the long-term benefit of our shareholders. Our corporate governance policies and practices include evaluations of the Board and its committees and continuing director education.

Our Environmental Responsibility Policy, Human Rights Policy, Third-Party Vendor Code of Conduct, and Enterprise Risk Management Program further support our stated ESG goals within our governance structure.

Our governance framework deploys cross-functional management-level committees that have requite subject matter expertise and span of control to regularly oversee important matters such as risk management, financial disclosure and internal control, projects, new or modified products and services, management of the assets and liabilities of the Bank, and governance. Each management committee reports into a Board Committee.

Board and Management Level Committee Charters, Corporate Governance Guidelines, company policies, and other core governance materials are reviewed and updated at least annually to ensure they remain current and are reflective of internal and external factors impacting our operations, including evolving ESG related risks and trends.

Our internal risk management teams oversee compliance with applicable laws and regulations and coordinate with subject matter experts throughout the business to identify, monitor and mitigate risk including information security risk management and cyber defense programs. These teams maintain rigorous testing programs and regularly provide updates to the Board and its Risk Oversight Committee.

We are committed to developing and maintaining a robust information security program that incorporates multiple layers of physical, logical and written controls, and strive to leverage the latest encryption configurations and technologies on our systems, devices and third-party connections and further vet third-party vendors’ encryption, as required, through our vendor management process. Our information security department maintains a risk assessment that is approved by our Board annually. We also conduct annual compliance training in areas such as privacy, information security, anti-money laundering, and fair lending.

Share our vision for tomorrow.

Download a PDF version of our ESG Program.