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JPMorgan Chase is shelling out $30 billion to advance racial equity

The investment banking firm will use the funds to provide a mix of loans, equity, and direct funding to support communities of color.

JPMorgan Chase is shelling out $30 billion to advance racial equity
Image Source: Getty Images/ US Banks Post Near-Record Profits In Second Quarter Of 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton)

Amidst the ongoing revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, investment banking company JPMorgan Chase has committed a whopping $30 billion in order to advance racial equity within and outside the firm, CNN reports. The announcement comes after several other firms in the sector pledged funds for the same cause. Citi Bank and Bank of America, for instance, pledged about $1 billion each. JPMorgan Chase said it plans to invest a mix of loans, equity, and direct funding to support its new commitments. The company plans to address systemic racism in a "more tangible, meaningful way," as per a press release from Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon.

 



 

 

"Systemic racism is a tragic part of America's history," he affirmed. "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." These "tangible" actions include promoting and expanding affordable housing, homeownership, and access to banking, helping grow Black and Latinx-owned businesses, and building a more diverse workforce. JPMorgan Chase joins other firms presently dedicating efforts to diversity and inclusion, such as Apple, Netflix, Peloton, and Facebook.

 



 

 

Brian Lamb, JPMorgan's global head of diversity and inclusion, said in a statement, "The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities for Black and Latinx people around the world. We are using this catalytic moment to create change and economic opportunities that enhance racial equity for Black and Latinx communities." While the continuing public health crisis has disproportionately affected communities of color, the wave of philanthropic efforts is, without a doubt, the result of newly-revived protests against police brutality. Following the violent murder of George Floyd, another unarmed Black man who succumbed to a White police officer's egregious cruelty, activists have called on leaders to dismantle systemic racism.

 



 

 

In the United States, Black households are several times more likely to be "unbanked," which means these families do not have a primary checking account with a traditional bank. They still rely on high-cost financial services such as check cashing, pawn shops, and payday loans. Furthermore, banks both large and small have been widely accused of "redlining" Black homebuyers, that is, denying or avoiding providing credit services to consumers due to racial demographics or because of the neighborhood they live in. JPMorgan Chase's $30 billion commitment will hopefully address the issues and tackle them at the root cause. "We’ve never seen this type of corporate response before and it feels a little hard to trust that it’s going to be long-term," said Stephanie Creary, an assistant professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. "It feels like a window of opportunity, and right now corporations are paying attention, but one would hope that it becomes an annual moment."

 



 

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