Judging Criteria

The focus of the Joe Belew Award changes annually to reflect current financial issues. Previous Awards have focused on job creation, low- and moderate-income housing programs, and programs supporting military servicemembers, veterans and their families. The objectives of the Joe Belew Award are timely, and they are targeted to make a difference. 


Regardless of topic, judges consider the following criteria for each applicant program:



  • Is the project approach innovative?
  • Does this project provide a unique and effective method to support financial inclusion that would serve as a meaningful example/solution from which other banks may learn?



  • Does the program have an evaluation plan to measure progress and impact?  If your program is young, do you have outlines for measuring impact?
  • Does the application report specific outcomes? Are the results impressive and meaningful given the bank’s size and resources?
  • Does the application provide a meaningful and inspiring anecdote for an individual or family impacted by the program?


Sustainability & Replicability:

  • Does this application describe a specific program or project that supports financial inclusion (as opposed to highlighting a department or entity of the bank in general)?
  • Does the program have a good plan for sustainability and growth?
  • Is this program replicable in other markets?



  • Does the bank partner with nonprofit or community organizations to implement the program? Has the bank established a meaningful and lasting relationship with one or more of these community partners?
  • Does the bank assist its community partners beyond monetary contributions?
  • Does the bank involve employees who are not solely dedicated to this program or the program’s department? Does participation in this project appear to be a part of the bank’s culture?


Large and small banks are judged on equal footing—CBA judges look for quality over quantity. The Joe Belew Award is not intended for full departments or entities within a bank that regularly perform charitable or philanthropic activities but rather for a specific program.


The Joe Belew Award winner and finalists are selected by a subcommittee of the CBA Community Reinvestment Committee in consultation with the chairman and officers of the Consumer Bankers Foundation.