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Equitable Bank Releases Inaugural ESG Performance Report

T.EQB

Canada's Challenger Bank™ Introduces ESG Framework

TORONTO, May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ - Equitable Bank (the "Bank" or "Equitable"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Equitable Group Inc. (TSX: EQB) (TSX: EQB.PR.C) (TSX: EQB.R) today released its first full-scale ESG Performance Report (the "Report") with data and commentary to provide stakeholders with transparent, relevant, and comprehensive disclosure on all aspects of environmental, social and governance strategies, practices, and outcomes within Canada's Challenger BankTM.

The Report features the Bank's challenger perspectives on the connection between ESG and its corporate values through its proprietary ESG framework and is organized according to each of EQB's five C's of ESG: Climate (environment), Customers, Challengers (employees), Community, and Corporate Governance.

"We are delighted to release our new ESG Performance Report, through which we challenged ourselves to disclose meaningful data, discuss ESG risks and risk management practices and elaborate on the opportunity areas that deeply engage our Bank as we live our purpose of driving change to enrich people's lives," said Andrew Moor, President and CEO of Equitable Bank. "It took a serious-minded effort to arrive at the final report. The result, which includes third-party assurance of emissions reporting, is a comprehensive point-in-time review that all stakeholders can rely on. That said, this is only the beginning. Our challenger ethos calls on us to constantly step up our approach rather than settling for the status quo. We will do so by holding ourselves accountable for progress against now publicly available data. As the Bank is soon to become Canada's 7th largest bank by assets, effective ESG practices will be of even greater importance to us and our stakeholders in the years ahead."

Led by metrics, the Bank's ESG Performance Report not only incorporates disclosure recommendations from several ESG frameworks and standards, such as the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), it also contains key datapoints requested by ESG rating agencies. Recognizing that the ESG landscape is changing rapidly, Equitable is supportive of standardization to increase clarity for issuers, investors, and customers who rely on comparable ESG data to drive decision making. The Bank supports consolidation proposed by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

"In all areas of ESG, we are dedicated to doing our part to drive change and make a difference. In the spirit of transparency, we disclosed material metrics to hold ourselves accountable – consistent with our philosophy that what gets measured gets managed," added Mr. Moor. "The result of this multi-faceted effort is growing recognition of the Bank's performance by rating agencies. In 2021, we maintained an AA MSCI rating (on a scale of AAA-CCC) and our Sustainalytics Risk Rating improved by one percentage point to 21.1. We expect more improvement on these ratings in the years ahead as our ESG program matures and develops."

About Equitable Bank

Equitable Group Inc. trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: EQB, EQB.PR.C and EQB.R) and serves more than 340,000 Canadians through its wholly owned subsidiary Equitable Bank, Canada's Challenger Bank™. Equitable Bank has a clear mandate to drive change in Canadian banking to enrich people's lives. Founded over 50 years ago, Equitable Bank provides diversified personal and commercial banking and through its EQ Bank platform (eqbank.ca) has been named the top Schedule I Bank in Canada on the Forbes World's Best Banks 2022 and 2021 lists. Please visit equitablebank.ca for details.

Investor contact:
Richard Gill
Vice President, Corporate Development & Investor Relations
investor_enquiry@eqbank.ca
416-513-3638

Media contact:
Jessica Kosmack
Senior Manager, Communications
jkosmack@eqbank.ca
647-600-2512

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Statements made in this news release, in other filings with Canadian securities regulators and in other communications include forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the Bank's objectives, strategies and initiatives, financial result expectations and risk management, statements about or containing possible future issuances of deposit notes of the Bank, statements made by our CEO and any other statements made herein, whether with respect to the Bank's businesses or the Canadian economy. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "planned", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases which state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, closing of transactions, performance or achievements of the Bank to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to risks related to capital markets and additional funding requirements, fluctuating interest rates and general economic conditions, legislative and regulatory developments, the nature of our customers and rates of default, and competition as well as those factors discussed under the heading "Risk Management" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis and in Equitable Group Inc.'s documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All material assumptions used in making forward-looking statements are based on management's knowledge of current business conditions and expectations of future business conditions and trends, including their knowledge of the current credit, interest rate and liquidity conditions affecting the Bank and the Canadian economy. Although Equitable believes the assumptions used to make such statements are reasonable at this time and has attempted to identify in its continuous disclosure documents important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Certain material assumptions are applied by the Bank in making forward-looking statements, including without limitation, assumptions regarding its continued ability to fund its mortgage business at current levels, a continuation of the current level of economic uncertainty that affects real estate market conditions, continued acceptance of its products in the marketplace, as well as no material changes in its operating cost structure and the current tax regime. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Equitable does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/equitable-bank-releases-inaugural-esg-performance-report-301543141.html

SOURCE Equitable Group Inc.