By Ruth Umoh
Civil unrest has gripped the U.S. since the brutal killing of George Floyd in May, prompting companies across industries to commit to racial justice and support initiatives that promote equity and inclusivity.
On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase made a $30 billion pledge to address racial inequality over the next five years, standing out as one of the largest race-related corporate financial commitments since public upheaval began in early June. The announcement comes shortly after Citi and Bank of America pledged $1 billion respectively to tackle racial inequality and economic mobility among communities of color.
“Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement. “We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way.”
The bank’s pledge includes a combination of loans, equity and direct funding that will expand homeownership for communities of color, grow Black and Latinx-owned businesses and improve their access to banking.
Much like Citi’s pledge, the majority of JPMorgan’s investment is allocated to housing. The bank says it will commit up to $4 billion in refinancing loans to provide Black and Latinx Americans with lower mortgage payments and an additional $14 billion in new loans and equity investments to help finance 100,000 affordable rental units in underserved communities.
The bank also plans to launch a new coaching program for underrepresented entrepreneurs, provide 15,000 loans worth $2 billion to small businesses in predominantly Black and Latinx communities, and will spend an additional $750 million with diverse suppliers.
Exclusionary policies have long kept racial and ethnic minorities from accessing mainstream financial services like banking. To that end, JPMorgan says that it will help a million people open low-cost checking or savings accounts and invest up to $50 million in capital and deposits in Black and Latinx-led Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions, mirroring a similar approach that Netflix took in June.
The bank also pledged to hold itself accountable to internal diversity efforts. In December, Dimon told employees in an internal memo that he was “disgusted by racism and hate in any form” after a New York Times report detailed racial discrimination at the bank’s branches. The exposé came a little over a year after JPMorgan agreed to pay $24 million to settle race discrimination allegations from former financial advisors at the bank.
Originally posted on Forbes