WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, today secured a commitment from Biden-Harris Administration nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Graham S. Steele, to work together, if confirmed, towards advancing diversity in financial institutions. The wide majority of U.S. financial institutions lack diversity, with the proportion of minorities in financial services dropping by 75% from entry-level to the C-Suites, where 90% of the executives are white. Even more blatant, women of color make up only 2% of executives despite being 21% of the entry level workforce. 
“Lack of representation not only contributes to discrimination in financial services, but contributes to broad discrimination that can cause systemic issues in our financial system as seen during the Financial Crisis,” said Sen. Menendez. “A financial system that is not diverse does miss things that matter, as highlighted in the run-up to the Financial Crisis where black and Latino borrowers with good credit scores were three times as likely as similarly situated white borrowers to have higher-rate mortgages. This subjective and unguided pricing discretion is simply unacceptable.”

Sen. Menendez is the author of the he Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act of 2021, legislation that would address shortcomings in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) diversity disclosure rule by requiring public companies to disclose information related to the racial, gender, ethnic makeup and veteran status of corporate boards and senior management.
Sen. Menendez’s 2017 Corporate Diversity Survey found that although most Fortune 100 companies believe in the idea of increasing diversity among their senior leadership, few are making tangible progress on the matter. The survey found that despite diversity and inclusion having made their way into the everyday lexicon of America’s top performing companies, many companies “talk the talk,” without “walking the walk,” with vast majority of companies not setting tangible targets to deliver on their self-professed commitment to diversity.