By Matt Egan | CNN Business | June 28, 2021
America’s biggest banks insist they can and will do more to combat the nation’s racial inequality crisis.
The trade group behind JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and dozens of other big banks is detailing 30 best practices lenders can take to ease inequality in Black communities.
The report from the Bank Policy Institute, shared exclusively with CNN Business, marks the first time the industry is laying out concrete ways to tackle these deep-seated challenges laid bare by both the Covid-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd.
Recommendations include publishing diversity and inclusion data, hiring more diverse wealth management personnel and exploring a “massive” industry-wide philanthropic investment in a particular sector or fund.
The report comes ahead of a hearing on Tuesday by a House of Representatives subcommittee examining the financial industry’s commitments to economic and racial justice. Lawmakers plan to debate legislation that would require public companies to carry out a racial audit every two years.
“When you look at history, you see centuries of financial exclusion for Black Americans. It goes back to the founding of our country,” Fabrice Emmanuel Coles, BPI’s vice president of government affairs, told CNN Coles, who is scheduled to testify at Tuesday’s hearing, said some banks have already been conducting these best practices, while others have not.
He acknowledged it will take time and considerable effort to chip away at racial inequality.
“It’s going to take a village to drive sustainable change because of the residue of exclusion and discrimination,” said Coles, who previously served as executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus and an aide to Democrats in Congress.
BPI represents 40 of the largest banks with US operations, including Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C) and PNC (PNC).