By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made a visit to Seattle for a town meeting with clients and employees. On Oct. 6, he met with members of the media in which he spoke about the company’s commitment to social justice issues.
Dimon addressed issues such as the anti-Asian sentiment that has occurred as a result of the pandemic and the Atlanta spa shootings that occurred in March 2021.
“Well, we’ve tried to stop any anti-anything,” Dimon stressed about the company’s stance toward intolerance and hate. “We don’t like it. We try to support our employees and we have programs about it.” The morning after the March 16, 2021 shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area, Dimon sent a message to his employees of the continual fight against hate.
Since the Black Lives Matter protests, the company focused on what it could do to help out.
“JPMorgan has always been a leader in diversity, way before the murder of George Floyd and way before COVID,” said Dimon. “COVID and the murder of George Floyd simply highlight what we already knew, that the Black community have been left behind for a long time and been suffering far longer than most.”
Dimon touted JPMorgan Chase’s program, ‘Advancing Black Leaders,’ which aims to attract, hire, retain, and advance top talent within the Black community. This led to ‘Advancing Black Pathways,’ an initiative that builds on existing efforts with $30 billion pledged since October 2020 to advance racial equity in the form of loans, financial education, and recruitment.
‘Advancing Black Pathways’ included programs directed to financing Black-owned businesses, entrepreneurs of color, and educating businesses for Black and Latinx. It also offered mortgages for Black and Latinx communities.
“It’s not just Black and Latin, it cuts across everything,” said Dimon.
“When you are a big company, you have to talk about big things.” Dimon added, “But this takes place on a local level.” Dimon noted that community Chase Banks would facilitate these programs and the company looks to establish banks in areas that need representation. Chase will also help one million people open low-cost checking and/or savings accounts. It is committing to hire 150 new community managers, opening new Community Center branches in underserved communities, and increasing marketing to reach more customers who are currently underserved, unbanked, or underbanked.
“We track everything,” Dimon said of the company’s workplace benchmarking to ensure that the programs are meeting needs. with respect to not only race, but with respect to women. He did note that Chase has done a great job with every demographic except with Blacks.
“That has its own special effort,” he stated as there is special emphasis to recruit and hire Blacks. When asked if there was any pushback from staff to these programs, he said “Nope and nor do I care.”
Dimon noted that he was pleased to know a consensus rebuke of the George Floyd murder from CEOs of many other companies.
“Almost everyone I know said, ‘This has got to stop.’”
As part of its response to helping companies back from the pandemic, Chase has been active in aiding small business owners and nonprofits in Washington state as it is part of its Small Business Flex Fund. This is in conjunction with the state of Washington and it is a public-private partnership that targets largely struggling, underserved, and minority organizations. Chase was one of the first large banks to make this commitment.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Dimon praised his employees for facing these times of adversity with “grace and fortitude” and hoped that the “citizens of the global community will be able to move beyond this unprecedented pandemic and look forward to a brighter future.”
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.