In 2020, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin co-founded the Advancing Equity and Banking Commission (AEBC), a network of prominent banking institutions anchored in Illinois and committed to building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and eliminating systemic racism in banking.
The State and City treasurers hosted the first “Reversing Systemic Racism & Black Divestment in Banking Virtual Town Hall” on Juneteenth, June 19, 2020. At the town hall, the leaders of the major banks in Chicago and across Illinois committed to examine their policies and practices and to work toward changes in four key areas:
The members of the AEBC commission that answered the call and are taking steps toward correcting the lending disparities and lack of representation we see in banking are Bank of America; BMO; CIBC; Fifth Third Bank; JPMorgan Chase; PNC; Wintrust; and Huntington Bank.
In 2022, we released a report looking at the first-two years of this long journey to create real, lasting change. The report, “Banking on Equity,” documents increased outreach and recruitment efforts and hiring goals as well as commitments to increasing homeownership and small business lending for families of color in Chicago.
AEBC was a good start, but we need to do more. So, this summer, to commemorate Juneteenth 2023, we will convene again with the senior banking leaders to review their progress and assess what additional actions may be needed. Some are prepared to discuss their commitments published in its Community Benefits Agreement.
Banking executives who would like to take part in the Commission should contact City.Treasurer@cityofchicago.org.