NationalStacy M. Brown

Maxine Waters Demands Diversity, Inclusion Data from Big Banks

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, have sent letters to 37 bank holding companies requesting their diversity and inclusion data and policies from 2015 to the present.

The letters request data on diversity and inclusion from bank holding companies with over $50 billion in assets, according to a news release.

Among the big banks targeted by Waters and Beatty are Ally Financial, Inc., American Express Company, Bank of America Corporation, Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and Barclays US LLC.

The lawmakers requested information about each institution’s diversity and inclusion data and policies from 2015 through the present, including demographic totals on employees that shows the total number of employees — full- and part-time; career level of employees — executive and manager versus employees in other roles; gender, race and ethnic identity of your employees, as otherwise known or provided voluntarily; and employee compensation by gender, race and ethnicity.

Waters and Beatty also want the financial institutions to disclose the number and dollar value invested with minority- and women-owned vendors and asset managers as compared to all vendor and asset manager investments.

They also seek titles and reporting structure for each institution’s lead diversity officers; the number of staff and budget dedicated to diversity initiatives; a description of performance measures and compensation tied to diversity initiatives; company-wide diversity policies and practices, including recruitment strategies; and outreach to diverse organizations, such as historically black colleges and universities and professional organizations.

The lawmakers have called for information on gender pay equity data and efforts to close any identified gaps; corporate board demographic data, including the total number of board members; gender, race and ethnic identity of board members, as otherwise known or provided voluntarily; board position title, as well as any leadership and subcommittee assignments; the institution’s diversity policies and practices; and any challenges the institution faces in implementing its diversity goals and initiatives.

“Unfortunately, a complete picture of diversity and inclusion in the financial services industry cannot be obtained until the financial services industry shares their diversity data and policies with the OMWIs, Congress, and the public,” the lawmakers wrote.

According to data presented by the Government Accountability Office at a February hearing of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, the financial services industry has failed to significantly improve diversity in its management ranks.

For example, from 2007 to 2015, the overall representation of women among managers at financial services firms remained generally unchanged, while the overall representation of minorities among managers marginally increased, except for African Americans whose representation decreased from 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent.

The data request is “designed to inform Congress of the diversity levels and diversity and inclusion policies and practices of the country’s biggest banks,” according to the news release.

Waters and Beatty have long called for financial institutions to prioritize diversity, they said.

The letters are identical to a request made last month by Beatty for diversity and inclusion data from the seven bank CEOs that testified at a committee hearing in April.

By expanding the data request to all bank holding companies with over $50 billion in assets, the Committee will be able to provide the American public with a complete picture of how large banks are meeting their commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Waters has vowed she wouldn’t be distracted with the climate in Washington in her quest for transparency and that big banks are already recognizing that she means business.

“They simply understand that it’s a new day and a new way,” Waters said in a recent interview. “I am the first African-American and first woman chair. They know that I have expectations.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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