JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon addressed inequality, racism and corporate responsibility in his annual letter to shareholders on Wednesday morning.
Hours later, the board of directors of JPMorgan, which he chairs, urged shareholders to vote against a racial fairness check proposal.
JPMorgan Chase JPM,
is one of the few largest banks in the country to be asked to conduct racial equity audits to examine how their practices and policies affect non-white customers and communities of color following the Black Lives Matter protests of the ‘last year.
Dimon in particular went further than other CEOs by going to a Chase New York branch last year and taking a knee to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. On top of that, Dimon spoke about the importance of careful planning, analysis and reporting on the economic and racial crises facing the United States in a letter to shareholders released Wednesday morning.
See: US economy to explode in 2023, but inequalities need to be addressed: Jamie Dimon in his latest letter to JPMorgan shareholders
He also mentioned the importance of transparency: “Unlike many companies who will just sell you a product if you can afford it, banks must necessarily refuse customers or apply rules that a customer may not like (for example). example, restrictive covenants). This makes open and transparent transactions even more important. “
However, when the bank issued its proxy on Wednesday afternoon, JPMorgan called for a “no” vote on a shareholder resolution that would ensure transparency on racial fairness, saying it was already addressing these issues. In its defense, the company cited a five-year, $ 30 billion pledge to “close the racial wealth divide, support employees and break down barriers to systemic racism” and said it had “a pledge extended with stakeholders who are affected by our business ”, as well as a system in place to diversify its workforce.
In its shareholder proposal, CtW Investment Group highlighted JPMorgan’s “conflicting history” in tackling racial injustice. Among other things, the group mentioned the settlement of the bank’s $ 55 million federal lawsuit over mortgage discrimination; the closure of its branches in predominantly black communities; and lawsuits for discrimination against its black and Hispanic employees.
See: Businesses said ‘Black lives matter’ last year, and now they’re being asked to prove it
JPMorgan joins Citigroup Inc. C,
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC,
Bank of America Corp. BAC,
and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS,
asking shareholders to reject racial equity audits. Morgan Stanley MS,
which had faced a similar proposal, recently struck a deal with CtW. According to CtW, which agreed to withdraw its proposal, Morgan Stanley promised to conduct an internal review of its workforce and leadership, and to speak more about its practices affecting fairness for other non-white stakeholders ahead of the meeting. annual next year.
A spokesperson for JPMorgan declined to comment on Wednesday evening.