For JPMorgan Chase, addressing racial equity has been a longstanding commitment
CEO Jamie Dimon and community branch manager Chandra Williams recently spoke with AL DÍA and other media on its racial equity commitment and its impact.
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For several years, JPMorgan Chase has been committed to creating opportunities for its employees, customers, and non-customers alike.
This was evident through such initiatives as Advancing Black Leaders and Advancing Black Pathways, which seeks to develop Black talent and create opportunities for economic success and empowerment.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, it posed the question: What more can be done for racial equity?
The question led JPMorgan Chase to launching a new $30 billion racial equity commitment to address key drivers of the racial wealth divide in October 2020.
“The $30 billion [racial equity commitment] was hundreds of people in each area of the company saying what can they do,” said JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon during a media roundtable with AL DÍA and other publications on Feb. 23.
“We got them all together, and we formulated a plan,” Dimon added.
The plan consisted of promoting and expanding housing & homeownership, growing diverse small businesses, improving financial health and access to banking, and accelerating investment in its employees, and building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Whether it was increasing home purchase loans, refinancing to lower mortgage rates, providing small business loans, or helping individuals open checking and savings account, JPMorgan Chase has committed to closing the racial equity and wealth gaps.
A key driver in this effort has been the launch of community branches, which provides free services to customers and non-customers in these areas.
Since 2021, JPMorgan Chase has hosted more than 175 free financial health events in the Philadelphia region.
At its newest West Philadelphia community branch, which opened at the end of last year, 16 workshops have been already been held, bringing in several hundred members of the community.
Small Businesses Drive Economic Growth
Growing diverse small businesses across the region is one of the various initiatives of the racial equity commitment.
Through it, the branch launched a new program designed to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access things such as coaching, technical assistance and capital.
Chandra Williams, community manager at JPMorgan Chase, shared that the community branches just recently graduated its first class of small business mentees across the country.
“200 small businesses graduated from that national effort; 23 graduated from Philadelphia,” she said.
In addition, Williams noted that JPMorgan Chase has already hosted three small business workshops for startups that are not yet ready for the coaching.
The workshops covered topics such as the power of cash flow, access to capital, and digital marketing.
It Goes Much Further
The impact of the community branches have been evident.
According to JPMorgan Chase, it has seen about a 20% increase in secure checking account production in community branches, in comparison to traditional ones.
In addition, there has been a 50% increase in business credit card sales in community branches over a traditional one.
“This is the culminating of all the work that we’ve done for the past one-and-a-half years,” said Williams.
JPMorgan Chase is committed to increased expansion, with plans to add 30 new branches in the region by 2024. This, in turn, will create an additional 800 jobs for the Philadelphia area, paying about $22.50 an hour.
“You look neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street and branch by branch,” said Dimon.
Many questions have to be asked and answered when determining where these branches will be located. However, the goal remains the same — to help those who are have historically been underserved.
Dimon added that the tri-state area is “a huge market” and will continue to be one as the number of community branches increase.