The DEI Difference
Large U.S. banks have had diversity officers and teams in place for years, according to Naomi Mercer, SVP diversity, equity and inclusion at ABA. But Floyd's death and the events that unfolded after have created "more of an empathy shock" for many bankers, who might not have realized how deep racial disparities are. As a result, more community and regional banks have been adding diversity officer positions, often housed within human resources, to help support the bank in broadening their employee base to reflect the full communities they serve. Increasingly, established banks are not only embracing social justice interests, but they are being launched with that as a foundation to their mission. Case in point: Beneficial State Bank was founded in Oakland, California, in 2008 with the express undertaking of investing in under-served communities, according to Francis Janes, industry relations and partnership director for the Beneficial State Bank’s foundation.