By Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The past year has been one of the most tumultuous chapters in recent history for black Americans, with many reminders that systemic racism has devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities.
COVID-19 pandemic is tearing black communities apart across the country, killing black people in twice the rate of white Americans, while leaving a trace of lost jobs and closures of black-owned businesses in its wake. This, along with the murder of George Floyd and so many others, has sparked a wave of corporate support for black Americans in recent months, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of businesses stepping up to make concrete changes to their lives. way of doing business in an effort to advance racial equity in the world.
As the largest bank in the United States, it is high time that JPMorgan Chase did its part in creating economic opportunity and inclusion for historically marginalized communities. Systemic racism is a tragic part of American history. It is a congenital flaw in our society that has resulted in racial disparities in virtually every area of American life, including wealth, homeownership, educational attainment, health care, rates of employment. incarceration and life expectancy.
The real lives that matter are affected by these gaps, and it is our responsibility to do something, given the role of banks in the financial health of the communities we serve.
HOW JPMORGAN CHASE FIGHTS THE RACIAL WEALTH DIVISION
Over the past few months, we’ve taken a look at our business practices, our products, and the role we play in communities across the country to understand the changes we need to make to address key drivers of the racial divide. We have particularly focused on developing ways to expand affordable lending and housing, increase credit and capital for black-owned small businesses, and improve access to tools that will help black people survive. save money and get on the road to sustainable financial health.
This work has led us to commit to the tune of $ 30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity in underserved communities – with a particular focus on Blacks and Latinxes. These commitments include loans, equity and direct financing to promote home ownership and affordable housing.
We have set a goal of providing 40,000 additional home purchase loans for black and Latin American households. To do this, we have committed $ 8 billion in mortgages. We also want underserved communities to take advantage of historically low interest rates, and we’ve committed $ 4 billion to help black and Latin households refinance their home loans.
CREATING PATHWAYS TOWARDS FINANCIAL HEALTH
From our own research, we know that black households tend to have less savings and higher debt than other groups. Historically, black Americans have been forced to struggle with limited access to credit and often have to pay higher financing fees. Too many black Americans are completely unbanked thus, increasing the likelihood of turning to predatory financial services like check cashing and payday lenders.
To tackle this challenge, we aim to help one million people open low-cost chequing and savings accounts. To do this, we need to build stronger relationships with underserved communities, which is why we are committed to hiring 150 new community managers. We also plan to open new branches of community centers in areas most in need and increase our marketing outreach to our black and Latin populations to raise awareness of these efforts.
RELYING ON BLACK ENTREPRENEURSHIP
If we are to make meaningful progress in bridging the racial wealth divide, entrepreneurship must be a key part of the equation. We are committed to helping job creators in Black and Latin communities access the credit they need to start, grow and grow their businesses. As part of this effort, we have committed to providing $ 2 billion in loans and spending an additional $ 750 million with Black and Latinx companies that can provide products and services to JPMorgan Chase.
We will also expand our Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to support more Black and Latin small business owners across the country.
As we move forward in these efforts, we know we must hold ourselves accountable if they are to achieve the intended impact. We will continually assess how these commitments are being fulfilled and will adjust as necessary. Ultimately, we know no business can bridge the racial wealth gap, but it’s our responsibility to try – and work with other businesses and decision makers along the way.
We’re doing our part in this area – and we’re just getting started.
Visit JPMorganChase.com/Pathforward to learn more about our efforts to advance racial equity, which include affordable housing, minority-owned businesses, financial health, diverse workforce and more.