JPMorgan Chase, and its Racial Equity Commitment in Philadelphia
Since announcing its $30 billion racial equity commitment in October 2020, the bank has provided support in a number of areas with a focus on 4 specific pillars
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JPMorgan Chase has taken on the arduous task of making progress towards closing the racial wealth gap.
Doing so takes a multifaceted approach that looks to directly benefit the diverse communities in which it both operates and serves.
The Philadelphia market is no different.
Recently, representatives from JPMorgan Chase visited the AL DÍA roundtable to speak about their specific expertise, and impact — particularly in the areas of affordable housing, homeownership, entrepreneurship, financial health, and workforce development.
The success of these pillars lead to diversity across the region’s workforce, which has a hand in racial equity and the creation of generational wealth in Black and Latino communities.
A Full Team Effort
In order to drive real change in the key focus areas, it’s required to have an understanding of the task at hand.
For Nathan McCann, a Chase Senior Business Consultant, whose job is to coach local entrepreneurs so they can better run their business, one of the effective ways to help grow minority small businesses is through mentorship.
“This free program aims to help those that need it most,” said McCann. “We offer one-on-one mentoring and advice to business owners on everything from boosting creditworthiness to managing cash flow to effective marketing.”
The home lending advisors at JPMorgan Chase play a key role in helping customers become homeowners.
Tanyika Rickard, Community Home Lending Advisor at Chase, noted that her responsibility is education for first-time home buyers.
“We teach home buying from the beginning of the process through to the end,” she said.
For Latosha Taylor, Business Development Manager for Community Home Lending at Chase, her role is to work with real estate agents, nonprofits, community stakeholders and others to help generate homeowners within the community.
“What I do is I help drive economic inclusion through homeownership to create generational wealth,” she said.
The Community Managers at JPMorgan Chase are responsible for identifying programming, resources, and collaboration opportunities that address local needs.
This includes improving financial health, through facilitating workshops, providing referrals, and resources for workforce development initiatives.
According to Chase Community Manager Chandra Williams, “it’s about developing and sustaining relationships by working closely with our customers to help address their unique needs.”
“The strategy is to be inclusive of all of the education so we leave no stone unturned,” she said.
Overall, nothing can be done to its highest degree without the collaboration of all pieces of the puzzle.
“We’re designed to work together as a team,” Rickard said.
A Racial Equity Commitment
At the core of the work that is being done is working with diverse low- to moderate-income individuals.
Each element of the racial equity commitment pays dividends for those communities.
Through its affordable lending services, first-time home buyers learn how to budget and save, as well as plan ahead, to become successful home buyers.
“Our goal is not only to increase homeownership in the Black and Brown community, but we want to sustain it,” said Rickard.
To this end, Taylor added: “The goal of making them homeowners is to make sure that it’s affordable. Affordability is the key because they still have to maintain their current lifestyle when they become a homeowner.”
Workforce development is another key component of the racial equity commitment.
Jennifer Brower, Chase Community Manager, works with a number of organizations to provide the resources and skills needed to be successful in those various areas.
JPMorgan Chase is also committed to turning community members into business owners.
The Impact and Successes
In the year-and-a-half since the racial equity commitment was announced, its impact has already been shown.
Williams noted that in the past year, she has hosted over 70 financial health workshops, helping more than 3,500 individuals.
She especially finds joy in working with college students who often are not informed about the importance of having good credit, how to build credit and what those things lead to during college and beyond.
“We are really trying to create the behaviors where in our Black and Latino communities, they actually know how to bank,” said Williams. This includes information about pay stubs, W-9 forms, the role of branch managers, setting goals, creating a budget and more.
That work then ties into the work being done by the business consultants.
“They’re teaching budgeting and banking, and then we come in and say, ‘Well, you’re a business owner. How’s that related to cash flow?’” said McCann.
Budgeting has a direct correlation with cash flow.
“We go through the whole process of how to access capital. No matter where you go, we want to prepare a client to be able to walk into any [bank] and get a loan with no problem,” he added.
On the home lending front, among the goals is helping a home buyer find resources to become a successful homeowner with an affordable mortgage.
Taylor noted one particular client was helped to receive $23,500 in grants to become a homebuyer.
“Affordability in this market and the climate we’re in, home prices are increasing,” added Rickard.
“With this assistance that we’re able to provide them, we’re actually able to bring that loan amount down to make it affordable. That’s the goal,” she continued.
The Hispanic and Latino Focus
In regards to the Hispanic and Latino community, a lot of work is being done to ensure the community is included in the racial equity commitment.
Brower named the Elevate Together initiative as one of its signature programs.
Originally available in five states, the program has since expanded to 13 with the goal of educating Latino small business owners on scaling and growing their businesses.
“There are a number of us Community Managers that are working very closely with our local Hispanic Chambers of Commerce to ensure that we are providing the resources and we’re serving as essentially a middle person for the Elevate Together initiative,” said Brower.
In addition, JPMorgan Chase is looking to connect with 500 small business owners in the region, partner with more Hispanic and Latino organizations, and nonprofits to learn more about the specific needs of the community and how they can be more supportive in addressing those needs.
They also co-sponsor a program called Latinx in Banking, a free program that trains members of the Latino community with workforce development skills.
Each effort ties into the four pillars of the commitment: financial health, affordable housing, small business growth, and workforce development.
“There are many streams and opportunities where Chase is actively reaching out to the community,” said Josué Figueroa, Senior Business Banking Consultant, at Chase.
Figueroa noted that since joining, he has been afforded the opportunity to deposit his 30-plus years of experience across various sectors to build capacity and turn weaknesses into strengths.
At JPMorgan Chase, it is ensured that the materials are translated into Spanish, as well.
“In the near future, I look forward to being able to do that, as well as carry out workshops and any speaking engagements in Spanish, as well,” Figueroa added.
Looking at What’s Ahead
In late fall, JPMorgan Chase will be opening a new Community Center Bank Branch.
There are only 13 of them currently in the country, and Philadelphia will soon be one of the cities represented, with its location set to be on 52nd & Ludlow streets.
Williams said the Community Center will feature a community room to host events, workshops, skills training, and small business pop-ups.
Taylor added that the new Community Center will allow them to invite more members of the community into the bank to learn more about the importance of financial health.
“If they have questions and need any more resources, they'll have a place that they can basically consider home,” said Taylor about the new community center.
With each future endeavor, one point of emphasis that Rickard wants to point out is that they are locally present.
“Our job is to be locally present in the community and really do the work… that’s something that I’m proud of,” she said.
In addition to the goal of closing the racial wealth gap and creating generational wealth, one of the other components of the work being done by JPMorgan Chase is to maintain and grow Philadelphia employees.
“We are putting in the work to ensure that Black and Hispanic residents are successful at owning their own homes, owning their businesses, and being employed, as well,” noted Williams.
McCann added, “We’re going to build capacity for the city of Philadelphia. It’s a personal mission of service.”