Hugh McColl Jr. believes businesses should help build communities because it makes good sense.
McColl, the chief executive officer of NationsBank, was the speaker for the Vickers Memorial Lecture Tuesday at Kansas University's Lied Center.
McColl said he believes businesses should help build communities not only because it is ``doing the right thing,'' but also because the health of a business is a reflection of the health of its surrounding community.
``In my judgment, the two goals -- business success and community building -- are not mutually exclusive. Businesses simply need to take a longer-term view in their corporate strategy.''
McColl said businesses should develop relationships with minority- and women-owned firms and create work environments that allow all employees to succeed.
Businesses should also develop policies that help build families. Such policies would include child-care subsidies and flexible work schedules.
``Workers are not competing for jobs. We are competing for workers,'' McColl said. Good family policies allow businesses to hire and retain loyal, dependable employees, he said.
``My company and my associates make positive contributions in all the communities where we do business. This is how all our businesses should contribute to the building of community, no matter where they do business,'' McColl said.
From 1992 to 1996, NationsBank injected $13 billion into economically underserved communities through community-development loans. The company has also been recognized for its progressive work-and-family programs. Working Mother magazine has listed it among the 10 best companies for working mothers for the past five years and among the 100 best companies for working mothers for nine consecutive years.
NationsBank has 84 branches in Kansas, including in Lawrence.
McColl began working at NationsBank in 1959 and has been CEO of the company since 1983. During that time, the company has grown more than 40-fold.
An estimated 1,200 people attended the lecture.