ABA Hearing Statement Highlights Banking Industry Commitments to DEI and Financial Inclusion

In a statement for the record shared ahead of a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on economic and racial justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the American Bankers Association emphasized the banking industry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and highlighted some of the DEI and financial inclusion initiatives banks are implementing across the country. The statement also detailed specific steps ABA has taken to support banks as they work to strengthen their DEI initiatives.

“The banking industry firmly believes in the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that a diverse workforce is critical to individual banks’ success in meeting the needs of diverse communities and customers across the nation,” ABA said. “ABA’s mission is to meet every bank where they are and assist them with implementing DEI programs and policies that advance them in their journey toward more equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplaces and greater service to their communities.”

The statement highlights some of the significant financial commitments made by large banks since Floyd’s murder to address the racial wealth gap in the U.S. and promote financial inclusion. Those include major investments in Black-owned businesses, support for historically Black colleges and universities and financing for MDIs and CDFIs. ABA also cited a range of DEI initiatives underway at banks of all sizes, citing several specific examples. These include employee resource groups, leadership and formal mentoring programs to advance women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups, and supplier diversity programs.

In Washington state, for example, one bank’s DEI program helps women- and veteran-owned businesses navigate the state’s linked deposit loan program to access capital to expand their businesses. In Texas, a bank uses heritage month observances to educate their employees and created its first chief diversity officer position, and in Georgia, a bank developed educational programming on marginalized identities to further internal conversations. In the statement, ABA also pointed to DEI initiatives underway at state bankers associations.