Banking for Good: FIs Invest In Diversity

Banks making investments in institutions and initiatives with an eye on diversity, including small business lending for women, black and veteran owned businesses

In just three weeks, three of the nation’s largest banks have followed through on their promise to do more to battle racism and promote diversity and equality in the financial services sector. Wells Fargo has just announced equity investments in six Black-owned banks, as part of a larger $50 million commitment to support minority-focused lending institutions. Citi has released the latest round of financing for its $200 million Impact Fund, focused on women, black or veteran owned businesses. And Bank of America has announced new information on its investment in private funds focused on minority entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo’s initiative is targeted toward supporting critical community institutions at a time when Black banks are on the decline. Beyond financial support, the bank will provide counsel on “digital transformation, branch access and loan origination,” according to Bill Daley, Wells Fargo’s vice chairman of public affairs. Citi’s fund leverages the bank’s own capital in the largest self-funded initiative of its kind to “invest in companies that are addressing some of the biggest societal challenges.” BOA’s program is focused on providing access to growth capital for minority-led enterprises. 

Following last summer’s BLM protests, institutions including PNC and others also made commitments to diversity, and consumers are holding them accountable by developing relationships with purpose-driven businesses and brands. With the demand for corporate social responsibility at an all-time high, people are seeking information on socially responsible banks and using tools to identify how banks and credit unions act in the world and make sure those actions are in alignment with a customer’s values and vision for a better future.