Black Bankers Declining on Wall Street

  • Citi’s black employees only make up about 1 in 10 U.S. workers
  • JPMorgan’s black U.S. workforce is down to 13.4% from 16% in 2011

African American workers are disappearing at major U.S. banks, all while men who run the biggest banks preach the value of diversity. They have declined for the eighth consecutive year at Citi (C -2.16%), along with falling for the 6th straight year at JPMorgan (JPM -0.91%). Is Wall Street unwilling or unable to make lasting and consistent change when it comes to its black workforce?

Why This Matters: Back in 2009, black employees at Citi made up about one in six people at the bank, now they are down to around one in ten U.S. employees. “While our commitment to diversity is strong, we realize that Citi’s representation numbers for female and black talent lag behind where we want to be as a firm,” said Jennifer Lowney, a spokeswoman for Citi.

JPMorgan isn’t faring much better in hiring, retaining or promoting black talent. In 2017 black employees made up a dwindling share of the company’s U.S. workforce down to 13.4% from 16% in 2011. CEO Jamie Dimon credited a bank program called “Advancing Black Leaders” which boosted black managing directors to 97 from 83 in 2016.

When there are less people working at these financial institutions that come from your own community getting access to capital becomes more challenging. "Many minority borrowers are looking for trusted financial advisors that reflect the diversity of the marketplace,” said Stella Adams, Chief of Equity and Inclusion at National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an organization that works to promote diversity in banking, housing and business.

Situational Awareness: Increased diversity at banks should be a top down approach. It needs to start with board members demanding change, but there are very few black directors at these Wall Street firms. JPMorgan recently added Mellody Hobson to its board.

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