Greenlining Senior Economic Equity Program Manager Rawan Elhalaby says financial industry leaders “should reflect the communities they serve in order to effectively build trust with consumers and make capital and financial services accessible.”
Photo: Greenlining Institute
At today’s House Committee on Financial Services\Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion hearing into banking industry diversity, The Greenlining Institute pushed for greater leadership diversity in an industry that remains shockingly unrepresentative of the nation’s demographics.
Testifying before the committee, Greenlining Senior Economic Equity Program Manager Rawan Elhalaby noted that while redlining has long been illegal, it never completely went away, and its effects linger in a large and growing racial wealth gap. Part of the solution, Elhalaby argued, lies in more diverse financial industry leadership, that “should reflect the communities they serve in order to effectively build trust with consumers and make capital and financial services accessible.”
“Only data,” Elhalaby continued, “can effectively highlight the impact of strong diversity and inclusion programs and serve as examples for other institutions and industries. Unfortunately, Greenlining experiences substantial difficulty in receiving data broken down by race and ethnicity, impeding our ability to produce fair research and keep the public, banks, and legislators informed.”
Elhalaby urged the committee to consider measures to promote greater transparency regarding the diversity or lack thereof in the banking industry’s leadership, workforce and contracting with outside suppliers.
Elhalaby authored a report published last October examining the diversity of the boards of directors at the 10 largest banks doing business in California, where Greenlining is based. The report found that on average, people of color made up 30 percent of bank board composition, despite making up over 67 percent of California’s population. Gender diversity was equally lacking, with women making up only 29 percent of bank board members. None of the 10 huge banks studied had more than 36 percent women board members.
To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.