People of color are on the way to being the new majority nationwide, and are already the majority in California and several other states. Banking and financial regulatory systems that do not adapt to this reality simply cannot do their job. And, given the degree to which predatory practices during the last decade’s housing bubble targeted communities of color, we believe it can only be beneficial to have a financial industry whose leadership looks like America.
For that reason, we regularly analyze and report on the diversity of the boards of directors of leading banks. We continue to urge major financial institutions to diversify their leadership, both in person and through columns in leading industry publications such as American Banker. Efforts to bring diversity to the financial sector received a big boost from passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which created new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWIs) in all 20 federal agencies that regulate our financial system, from the Securities and Exchange Commission to all of the branches of the Federal Reserve. Each OMWI is responsible for taking steps to:
- Diversify its agency’s workforce,
- Increase contracting opportunities for women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and
- Assess the diversity practices of its agency’s regulated entities.
That is a major undertaking, and work has only begun.
As the OMWIs began work in 2012, Greenlining issued a report examining the state of diversity within federal financial regulatory agencies. Greenlining is actively working with the OMWI directors and has provided them with a set of recommendations for expanding diversity within both the financial industry and the financial regulatory agencies.