Corporate Social Responsibility and Bank Performance

49 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013

See all articles by Brian J. Bolton

Brian J. Bolton

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Date Written: June 11, 2013


This is an empirical study of the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), financial performance and risk at U.S. banks from 1998-2010. The results are striking. First, there is a positive relationship between CSR and both operating performance and firm value. This result is most pronounced in the largest banks. Second, there is a negative relationship between bank risk-taking and aspects of a bank’s CSR environment that are central to the bank’s operating activities. Third, those same aspects were negatively related to whether or not the bank received assistance through TARP during 2008-2009, while aspects consistent with green-washing were positively related to a bank receiving TARP assistance. Overall, these results suggest that improving the quality of CSR at banks might go a long way towards improving individual bank performance and reducing the risk associated with U.S. financial institutions.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, banks, sustainability, financial crisis, corporate governance

JEL Classification: M14, G01, G20, G32, G34

Suggested Citation

Bolton, Brian J., Corporate Social Responsibility and Bank Performance (June 11, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Brian J. Bolton (Contact Author)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette ( email )

Lafayette, LA 70504
United States

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