A report released by Rep. Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and members of the Congressional Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, has found a disturbing lack of diversity in seven key federal agencies regulating the financial system.
Policy experts at the Greenlining Institute said that the report, written by House Committee on Financial Services Democratic staff based on analyses by the Inspectors General (IG) at the agencies, should spur concerted action to increase diversity.
The report finds that women and minorities are underrepresented in the agencies’ workforces and severely underrepresented in senior management positions. In addition, African American employees generally received lower performance management review scores than their white counterparts.
“We need concrete, practical steps to identify and remove the barriers that keep people of color and women out of these important jobs,” said Greenlining Institute President Orson Aguilar.
“It is critical that the agencies watching over our financial system reflect our nation’s growing diversity. The financial crash happened in large part because federal bank regulators missed what was going on in communities of color, and we can’t afford to continue this legacy of negligence,” said Aguilar.
The Greenlining Institute and coalition partners outlined a series of steps the agencies should take in a letter sent to leaders of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, National Credit Union Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Among other suggestions, Greenlining urged the following:
Agencies must recognize that diversity programming doesn’t happen in a silo. Research shows that entities with inclusive workforces owe their success to comprehensive strategies that incorporate diversity into every aspect of their operations.
These strategies include strong tracking, recruitment, and professional development systems. Each Inspectors General report puts forth recommendations for how the agencies can better diversify their systems.
The agencies’ Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion should investigate barriers to employment in addition to discrimination, such as lack of outreach to diverse candidates.
The agencies’ office should push the agencies to plug gaps in their data collection. All but one Inspectors General report identified missing or flawed demographic data.
The agencies should create specific accountability measures by which agencies can gauge their progress in diversifying their workforces.
To read Greenlining’s full letter, go to http://greenlining.org/issues/2015/greenlinings-comments-and-recommendations-regarding-omwi-inspector-general-reports/