Boards Still 71% White, 70% Male — Barely Changed Since 2012 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Although people of color make up two thirds of California’s population, the executive boards of the state’s 10 largest banks remain 70 percent white and 71 percent male, numbers that have changed relatively little since 2012, according to a new analysis from The Greenlining Institute.

Greenlining reviewed the boards of California’s largest banks by market share and found wide disparities. While three quarters of Bank of the West’s board consists of people of color, three banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and First Republic Bank – had just 18 percent people of color, and Silicon Valley Bank’s board was all white. First Republic had the highest percentage of women at 36 percent – still well below the female percentage of the population. Four of the 10 banks had boards that were three quarters male or more.

“Bank boards of directors matter,” said report author Rawan Elhalaby, Greenlining Institute senior economic equity program manager. “They are the ultimate decision-makers, driving policies that ultimately trickle down to communities. When boards are out of touch with the communities the bank serves, those communities won’t be served as well. We’re glad the House Financial Services Committee has been looking into corporate board diversity. Their efforts informed our work and we hope to help move the discussion forward.”

Changes since Greenlining’s analysis of 2012 data, published in early 2013, were mostly small. U.S. Bank and Bank of America increased their percentage of female board members, while Citibank had the biggest increase in board members of color, from 17 percent to 40 percent. But Citibank’s percentage of women slipped from 25 percent to 20 percent.

Greenlining’s report urges banks to take a number of steps, including improved disclosure of board demographics and policies, goals for diverse representation, and an active effort to expand the pool of applicants for board slots.

Read the report here.


A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute