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Feb-15-2012 17:46printcomments

New Report: Federal Bank Regulators Don't Look Like America

Executives at Some Key Agencies 100% White, Study Finds.

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(BERKELEY, Calif.) - The federal agencies that regulate America’s financial industry don’t come close to matching the nation’s diversity, a new study released today by The Greenlining Institute shows. The report, "Government That Looks Like America? Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Financial Regulatory Institutions," comes as the recently-created Offices of Women and Minority Inclusion are gearing up their operations and its authors argue that failure to include regulators from diverse backgrounds may cause these agencies to miss emerging trends.

Key findings include:

  • Although people of color made up just over one third of America’s workforce in 2010, they are not represented at anywhere near that level at the decision-making levels of financial regulatory agencies, particularly in executive management. Larger numbers of people of color are present in lower-level positions.
  • In all but one of 15 agencies that provided full data, people of color made up 20 percent or less of executive managers.
  • Three Federal Reserve Banks – Boston, Cleveland, and St. Louis – had not one person of color in executive management.
  • Four of the 15 agencies had zero African Americans in executive management, seven had zero Latinos and nine had zero Asian Americans. Native Americans and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were almost entirely missing.

“These findings tell us that the Offices of Women and Minority Inclusion have their work cut out for them,” said co-author Divya Sundar, Greenlining Community Reinvestment fellow. “There is a lot of literature showing that diverse organizations are more attentive to the needs of diverse consumers. We know that during the housing bubble these regulatory agencies missed dangerous increases in predatory lending that surfaced first in communities of color, and you can’t help but wonder whether regulators from a wider variety of backgrounds might have seen the warning signals sooner.”

The full report is available online here.

Source: THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE - A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

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