Nichols Calls on Bankers to Address Racial Inequities

Speaking at the ABA Risk and Compliance Virtual Conference this morning, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols praised the industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and emphasized that bankers must respond with equal passion and determination to address longstanding racial inequities.

“ABA is engaging in an open discussion of how the banking industry can advance two key principles that everyone should agree on: that all Americans should have a truly equal opportunity to prosper [and]that economic inclusion is essential to creating these opportunities,” Nichols said.

He highlighted several steps ABA has already taken to address these challenges, including launching a strategic partnership with the National Bankers Association, the leading trade association for minority depository institutions, hiring two DEI executives and forming banker peer groups to guide ABA’s diversity and inclusion work. He emphasized, however, that these actions “are only the beginning. The foundations are laid, and now we must continue to build.”

Nichols also discussed the important role that compliance officers and risk managers play in challenges facing the industry. “You help take visionary ideas and make them workable within our legal and regulatory framework,” Nichols said. “And when it comes to ensuring equal opportunity and access to financial products and services, you are the ones who speak up when you see something happening that isn’t right. Never forget the critical role you play in making our industry stronger, safer and more equitable for all.”