There is a new narrative emerging from Congress about the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in financial institutions. Just a few short weeks before credit union advocates made their biggest descent on Washington D.C., the House Financial Services Committee released a study on Diversity in Banking. The report examined how the biggest financial institutions—those with over $50B in assets—are managing (or in this case, not managing) diversity.
My summary of the key findings? Congress believes there is a lot of room for improvement— with Boards, with employees, and with investments.
When it comes to changing behavior of those they oversee, Congress has one tool: Legislation. It comes as no surprise, then, that the committee has developed recommended legislation to improve diversity in banking.
While the targets are all aimed at banks (today), credit unions must be prepared with their own response. With nearly twenty years of experience advocating for credit unions, I have observed that if Congress is ready to mandate how financial institutions should behave, credit unions must already be ahead of the legislation and telling the story of how they are already operating with consumers’ best interest first.
Is the industry prepared to share our commitment to representing our communities through volunteer and executive leadership, community investment, and vendor selection? Can our stories successfully prove credit unions do not need to be subjected to another legislative or regulatory burden because DEI is in our DNA?
A recent assessment by CUNA examined how credit unions perform in both who we serve and who is doing the serving and found that credit unions have room to grow: The highest levels of leadership on our Boards and in our largest credit unions are mostly white, and mostly male. The NCUA’s annual voluntary diversity assessment for credit unions has not been widely completed, making it difficult to gain a complete picture of any progress in the industry so far.
How does this look at your credit union? Can you share your intentional and organizational commitment to valuing diversity, demonstrated through metrics? Does your Board fully reflect and represent your entire community? Are your products developed by a team of leaders who understand diverse needs and varied perspectives because they represent diverse backgrounds?
If you do not already have your DEI story ready for Congress, it is time to get serious about Diversity and Inclusion: To strategically integrate conversations about diversity in your planning conversations; to consider another approach to Board Succession Planning and Recruiting; and to win the war for executive talent by building inclusive cultures that attract top leaders to represent your community.
Humanidei was founded to help credit unions and our system be the leaders in Diversity and Inclusion in banking. Our human capital solutions offer volunteer and executive succession planning and recruitment; organizational talent analysis; and DEI consulting that leads to diverse and inclusive cultures. Working together, we will develop a plan that ensures your credit union is ready to serve members and your community well into the future… and we’ll have you ready to tell a different DEI story before next year’s GAC.
Are you ready to take action? Reach out to us and mention Advocacy Discount for 10% off any of our DEI Consulting Services before March 31, 2020.