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DIR - Thomas J. Shara

Message From Our President And CEO:

With deep roots in our communities, Lakeland Bank has shared and advanced the societal goals and aspirations of our customers, shareholders and associates for over half a century. We are proud to have formalized our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy in 2022 on our continuing journey to serve and support our communities and stakeholders.

Our commitment to advancing these ESG principles is not new. What is new is our commitment to enhanced disclosure in a wide range of areas such as business ethics; diversity, equity and inclusion; employee well-being; climate change; access to financial services; data protection and cybersecurity; among many others. We understand that ESG related policies and actions not only affect the well-being of people, communities and society, but also have implications for risk mitigation and long-term financial performance and value.

Accordingly, we have developed a detailed roadmap, overseen by the Board of Directors, to ensure that our approach to ESG issues is aligned with stakeholders’ priorities and corporate best practices. We are working to develop ESG measurement and disclosure programs consistent with widely recognized global standards and, to increase transparency around our efforts, plan to release updates regarding our plans and progress on an annual basis.

As a community-focused financial institution, Lakeland Bank is committed to building healthy, vibrant neighborhoods and we’re proud of our long-time efforts to make a difference in the communities we call home.

On behalf of our Board of Directors and more than 900 associates, thank you for your trust in Lakeland. We continue to strive to be worthy of your confidence and support.

Thomas J. Shara - President & CEO

Our Initiatives


Lakeland Bank has begun the use of smart lighting technology in its Administration buildings with plans to roll-out usage to other facilities. We have implemented recycling programs for paper and waste, and use filtered water to reduce our water waste. Lakeland Bank has devoted tremendous resources in instituting a digital initiative program, which is reducing paper usage and postage and delivery functions that impact the environment. Additionally, our remote work environment and our increasing use of virtual meetings has reduced our need for travel and associate commuting. In 2022, Lakeland distributed nearly 5,000 reusable tote bags to members of our community.

Human Capital Management

The success of our business is highly dependent on our associates, who are dedicated to our mission to inspire and enable the communities we serve to achieve financial stability and success. We seek to hire well-qualified associates to sustain and build on our culture of service and performance. We encourage the growth and development of our associates and, whenever possible, seek to fill positions by promotion and transfer from within the Company. At December 31, 2022, approximately 35% of our team had been with us for 10 years or more.

Continual learning and career development are advanced through annual performance and development conversations between associates and their managers, internally developed training programs, customized corporate training engagements and educational reimbursement programs. Our Leader Engagement and Development (LEAD) Program was launched in 2018 to foster leadership abilities and cultivate effective management approaches. To date, 51 associates have completed the program.

The safety, health and wellness of our associates is a top priority. As with many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges with regard to maintaining associate safety while continuing successful operations. We instituted remote working plans and ensured a safely-distanced working environment for associates performing customer-facing activities at branches and operations centers, closing branch lobbies as necessary. On an ongoing basis, we further promote the health and wellness of our associates by strongly encouraging work-life balance, offering flexible work schedules, keeping the associate portion of health care premiums to a minimum and sponsoring various wellness programs.

Diversity, Equity And Inclusion

We know that Lakeland’s continued success is dependent on having a workforce that reflects and represents our communities’ diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. In 2020, we appointed our first Chief Diversity Officer, with a mandate to focus on and expand workforce, vendor/supplier and leadership diversity, among other vital issues. Our expanding range of DEI initiatives includes awareness training and listening sessions for associates and the creation of an associate-led Diversity Task Force to provide associates further opportunities for input into relevant issues, access to information and assistance on topics ranging from diversity to wellness, parenting and other personal issues and concerns. To further expand diversity in our workforce, we partnered on recruitment efforts with organizations such as the African American, Hispanic and New Jersey LGBT chambers of commerce, which have led to an increase in hiring diverse talent. A survey of Lakeland associates in 2021 found that 94% believe we are committed to diversity and 90% agree we are making progress with our initiatives. We are encouraged by these findings and committed to moving our efforts forward.

Lakeland’s Board of Directors also believes that the best decisions are reached after consideration and input is provided from members having a broad array of backgrounds, perspectives, talent and experience. This commitment to diversity dates back to 1995 when we welcomed our first female member of our Board of Directors, who was later appointed Board Chair in 2011. Our second female Director joined the Board in 2004 and the Board of Directors Nominating Corporate Governance Committee is moving forward to secure an additional racial/ethnic diverse Director. Additional information regarding our commitment to workforce diversity is available for review in Lakeland’s 2021 10K as well as the NASDAQ Board Diversity Matrix.

At December 31, 2022, the Company employed 913 associates of which approximately 68% are women.

A leader in gender diversity, Lakeland's Board of Directors has had female representation for over two decades.

Community Engagement

A key element of our mission is to encourage the stability and success of our communities. In 2021 – as the strains of COVID-19 were felt across our society – Lakeland supported organizations that provide healthcare, economic assistance, education and other vital resources. Some of our more significant community-oriented efforts included contributions for inner-city pediatric dentistry services; support for a community college technical training program; and our annual Scholarship Golf Outing, which aids local students who are pursuing higher education. In addition, through the efforts of our Healthcare Banking team, Lakeland provided millions of dollars in credit, as well as other financial services, to enable the work of assisted living and memory care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, medical practices, behavioral health and substance abuse centers, and other healthcare providers across our market area.

Lakeland is also extremely proud of our “Outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act rating received from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") in October 2020, a rating that we have maintained since 2005. The Community Reinvestment Act is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. The rating is based upon an assessment of three categories: lending, investment, and services. Included in the assessment are bank practices such as mortgage lending, small business lending, community development lending, investments and services to communities, along with associate community involvement. 

Data Privacy And Cybersecurity

Maintaining the security, availability and integrity of our customers' private information is of paramount importance to our entire Lakeland team. We have integrated corporate policies and operating procedures that govern how we collect, use, retain and protect private and personal data of our customers and other stakeholders; manage and monitor third-party risk; and ensure operational continuity and recovery through resiliency planning and testing. Lakeland’s cybersecurity program utilizes multiple levels of preventive and detective tools, rigorous systems testing, vulnerability and software patch management, and a dedicated information security team.

Lakeland Charities

Since 1969, Lakeland Bank has cared for the banking needs of those in our local communities and provided resources for many initiatives that help build healthy, vibrant neighborhoods. Our philanthropic arm, Lakeland Charities, helps support local charitable causes and communities through volunteerism, fundraising and grants. Over the past five years, Lakeland has donated more than $5 million dollars to worthy causes. Two of our largest initiatives include the Ray Cordts Memorial Sussex County Golf Classic, which has donated over $1.6 million to non-profits in Sussex County, New Jersey as well as our Annual Scholarship Golf Outing which has provided more than $3 million in scholarships to deserving students in New Jersey and New York. We also provide support to address financial independence, homelessness solutions and affordable housing programs, educational programs offering financial and cybersecurity skills, youth programs and services including childcare and afterschool programs, emergency services including food, shelter and clothing as well as health and well-being services.

501(c)3 ID: 22-330223


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Laurie A. Veith

First SVP/Director of Operations

Laurie A. Veith