Rep. Beatty: Banks Making Progress in DEI, But More Work Is Needed

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on diversity and inclusion, said that her committee and U.S. banks are “off to a great start” when it comes to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the financial services industry. Speaking at the American Bankers Association’s Washington Summit today, Beatty—who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus—noted that banks have been open to “moving the needle” on DEI issues, and that she maintains an “open-door policy” when it comes to collaborating with financial institutions on these issues.

Beatty said she’s been pleased that bank CEOs and their teams have spent the time to work with the subcommittee. She added that companies have been eager to share their progress, even though it isn’t mandatory to do so—though she signaled that she would be supportive of such a mandate, and that legislation may be forthcoming. “I want to reward everyone for their good stories and show America that we believe in community diversity and equity,” she said. “This isn’t an ‘I got you’ game.”

Among the next steps, according to Beatty, are ensuring that small businesses have access to capital; closing the wealth gap, which includes supporting home ownership; and opening the doors to business diversity. But ensuring diversity goes beyond mandating percentages, Beatty said. “I don’t support that at all.” Rather, she said, banks should be focusing more on diversity and inclusion planning.