Investor Relations - Message from the Chair

Evelyn F. Smalls
President and Chief Executive Officer

L. Armstead Edwards
Chairman, Board of Directors


From a very early age, we learn about the importance of balance. It starts out with the wobbly first steps of a toddler, then progresses to playgrounds and classrooms, and eventually into the workplace and at home with our families.

Every day, we look for balance in our lives. A comfortable work-life balance. The health virtues of a well-balanced diet. Short-term wants versus longer-term needs. And, in the financial world, balanced budgets and checkbooks.

We also learn how to balance risk and reward. Our judgment is constantly being tested: big decisions like investment and career opportunities, along with smaller ones we may take for granted while driving, eating, shopping, or planning our busy schedules.

Striking a balance isn’t easy. It’s often about making tough choices, smart choices. Communicating and acting in a way that’s true to one’s character, while also aiming for the best outcomes.

Our mission is all about balance

United Bank of Philadelphia was founded on the promise of providing access to essential financial services for all types of individuals and businesses, minimizing the economic disparities that exist in our region.

Back in the early-‘90s, many Philadelphians, particularly minorities, were underserved. Banks were pulling out of urban areas and tightening their lending policies. The economy was bad, and they felt it was too risky.

But the founders of our Bank believed they could achieve that delicate balance: serving the portion of the population that had no where else to turn, while also maintaining responsible business standards and building a stable institution. And that’s exactly what they did.

With challenging times upon us once again, we continue to prove that we’re not like most banks. We serve a higher purpose. Always have, always will.

“So Much More Than Banking”

Sure, there are pressures and dynamics that didn’t exist when our organization was founded two decades ago. New regulations, new competitors, and an unfavorable global landscape unlike anything we’ve seen in nearly a century are just a few major factors.

But as a certified Community Development Financial Institution—in fact, the first and only commercial bank in Pennsylvania with the CDFI designation—our mission is bridging the economic divide and bringing all Philadelphians into the financial mainstream. We’re devoted to the vision of being a catalyst for wealth creation and economic development in low and moderate income, underserved, and emerging markets. And we believe that there has never been a more important time for families to take control of their financial future.

We remain focused on advancing the ideals of Inclusivity, Opportunity, and Community. Each is noble and vital on its own; however, together, they form what we call the “Cycle of Progress”—a positive and uplifting spiral of improvement that keeps our city’s neighborhoods and residents moving forward by keeping resources here.


The Stark Reality

Without our bold approach to the risk-reward balance, the Cycle of Progress grinds to a halt.

Our willingness to embrace this challenge rather than running from it puts us outside the mainstream, like so many of the customers we serve. It comes down to how we define “reward.” Other banking institutions look at reward as almost exclusively financial. Will we make enough money? If yes, do it. If no, pass.

We don’t have that luxury. Our unique role in the community compels us to have a different—and more balanced—perspective of reward. Of course we have to make money, but there’s also an element of advocacy—extending opportunities to local families, students, religious organizations, and small businesses who deserve a chance.

Not surprisingly, our greatest challenge has been navigating the turbulence of a deep, broad, and prolonged financial crisis. Our financial performance continues to be adversely impacted by the volatile, recessionary economy.

So while “it’s not our fault, but it’s our problem”—a can-do motto employed by some of the world’s best companies—we’ve managed to battle through with the fortitude, focus, and tenacity that, in many ways, personifies the passionate City of Brotherly Love.
We still provide affordable products and services to customers who may not all fit the profile of a “perfect” loan candidate. A promise is a promise. And quite often, they turn our trust into remarkable, valuable achievements—and long, profitable banking relationships.

Maintaining balance

When the ground is unstable, those that possess the strongest sense of equilibrium are the most likely to remain standing.

As we near our 20th Anniversary, we’ve demonstrated that our Bank can endure great tests with its sense of self and purpose firmly intact. Our mission calls for us to meet business goals and responsibilities to our various constituencies without compromising the indispensable role we play in the health and growth of neighborhoods. We’re proving that it can be done, despite many others who have buckled under the weight of a financial crisis.

It may not be easy, but we intend to stand strong, stay true to that mission, and push into our third decade with a foundation of essential contributions to our region, a rich sense of pride, and a bright vision of the future.

We salute our customers, staff, Board of Directors, shareholders, corporate partners, and other friends of the Bank for their steadfast support.

Thank you for being part of the Cycle of Progress!



Evelyn F. Smalls
President and Chief Executive Officer



L. Armstead Edwards
Chairman, Board of Directors