JP Morgan, the bank whose employees were recently caught pocketing COVID-19 relief funds destined for small businesses, has reportedly committed billions of dollars to help "advance racial equality" and "fight the racial wealth gap".
According to Axios, the bank announced Thursday that it plans to spend $30 billion over the next five years, which the company says will address some of the biggest drivers of massive wealth inequality between Black and white Americans. The commitment - which is just talk so far, as far as we can tell - makes JPM "by far the largest monetary contributor to efforts by businesses to fight systemic inequality and racism in the US."
This is the statement from @jpmorgan CEO Jamie Dimon attached to the bank's $30 billion commitment to battle the racial wealth gap, systemic racism and inequality. (They used all of those terms in a press release.) https://t.co/6t1gzhMo0H pic.twitter.com/iT6qKu3GEJ— Dion Rabouin 🇺🇸 (@DionRabouin) October 8, 2020
JPM CEO Jamie Dimon, who most recently through his weight behind the cause of getting his bank's employees back in the office, said that if even a fraction of the companies who are members of the Business Roundtable (a nonprofit that Dimon chairs) follow suit, then the effort would be "unprecedented".
"If a fraction of the members of the Business Roundtable follow suit then you're talking about a more concrete effort than anything we've seen before," Dimon said.
The bank has committed to spending $8 billion to "increase affordable housing and homeownership in underserved communities," JPM said. Another $4 billion will be dedicated to "mortgage refinancing", $2 billion will be spent on "small business lending", and $2 billion in philanthropic capital.
"Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history," Dimon said in a statement. "We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It's long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way."
The bank also committed to "hiring and investment in existing employees to "build a more equitable and representative workforce and hold executives accountable", while promising to hold at least $50 million in deposits at minority-owned financial institutions (free money).
As Axios illustrates the magnitude of JPM's gift with a helpful chart.
Notably, the Axios puff piece comes less than 2 weeks after the bank agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, while JPM would probably prefer clients view this as a purely altruistic act, if we've learned anything over the last 3 years, it's that companies believe virtue-signaling to be a smart business tactic. Perhaps if Jamie Dimon can convince the world that the big banks are 'doing their part', Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Cuomo will forget all about that 'wealth tax'.
Despite putting its money where Jamie Dimon's mouth is, we suspect this grand gesture won't be enough to convince the BLM crowd to accept Dimon as a comrade. Can somebody ask Dr. Melina Abdulla if this absolves Dimon from being part of the same "violent White Supremacist system" as Joe Biden and Donald Trump.