At Inaugural Economic Equity Conference, DFPI Unveils Results of Diversity Survey in State Banks
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) today hosted its first conference on economic equity, attracting more than 450 senior banking executives and regulators from across the state and unveiling its very first Diversity survey in state-owned banks.
Intended to give state finance leaders tools and strategies to improve their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and consider their role in helping to close the racial wealth gap, DFPI Commissioner, Manuel P. Alvarez, urged participants to consider bold efforts in the aftermath of a pandemic. this further exacerbated economic disparities.
“When I took over as the head of the department, I made it clear that embracing more innovation in financial regulation, diversity and inclusion were the top priorities,” said DFPI Commissioner Alvarez , to participants before unveiling the diversity data. “Regulators and financial institutions have come to fundamentally understand that the economic health of our communities of color is essential for the safety of families, the prosperity of small businesses, and the stability of a democratic society.”
The virtual conference included remarks from several iconic leaders, including Dolores Huerta, labor and civil rights activist, and Deanna Singh, chief change agent at Uplifting Impact. Business, Consumer Services and Housing Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez also rallied participants in her remarks, noting that “closing the racial wealth gap and pursuing a more inclusive and economically equitable California is an ambitious task. , but I am encouraged that all of you here today are committed to giving it your best efforts. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis made closing remarks which underscored the importance of an inclusive economy.
“This conference is a testament to California’s commitment to strive for more equitable outcomes in all sectors,” said Kounalakis. Our economy cannot fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic unless we continue to move towards an inclusive, resilient and sustainable economy. California has led the nation in many areas – and I know we can do the same with economic equity.
A panel, “Innovative Strategies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap,” included representatives from JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Silicon Valley Bank and USC Credit Union. Participants proposed concrete actions for financial institutions, including training on diversity, financial commitments to racial equity initiatives, and internal reviews to identify priorities.
But one of the highlights of the conference was the release of the State Banking Investigation Diversity Report which was released to all state chartered banks and credit unions in October 2020. It includes aggregated and anonymized data submitted voluntarily by 80 of the 233 banks. and credit unions that responded to the survey, reflecting a response rate of 34%.
Main conclusions of the report:
- Respondent financial institutions reported collecting data on employees and board members on the following:
- 60% collect ethnic and / or gender data.
- about 40 percent inquire about veteran / disability status.
- about 15 percent ask about “other” categories, including marital status and age.
- only 3% collect data on sexual orientation.
- About half of responding financial institutions require diversity education or training for employees, while only 23% require diversity training for board members.
- About 40% of financial institutions have board-approved diversity, equity and inclusion goals, with targeted recruitment being the most common.
- One-third of financial institutions monitor diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, with self-assessment tools being the most common.
- Over 75 percent of survey respondents would like DFPI to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by providing education and training to licensees.
In addition to overseeing state chartered banks and credit unions, the DFPI authorizes and regulates commodities and investment advisers, fund issuers, mortgage managers, the offering and sale of securities and franchises, brokers, non-bank installment lenders, payday lenders, students. loan managers, escrow companies, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program administrators, debt collectors, hire-purchase contractors, credit repair companies, credit reporting agencies consumption, debt relief companies, and more.