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The banking industry has talked good a game about wanting diversity among its management ranks, but it appeared to have no interest in recruiting Black talent that’s in plain sight.

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“Is Wall Street unwilling or unable to make lasting and consistent change when it comes to its Black workforce?” asked Kori Hale in a Forbes op-ed published Monday. She emphasized the meritless lament from major banks across the board about struggling to hire Black people in management positions as well as retain them.

Indeed, African-American representation at management levels in the financial services sector decreased from 2007 through 2015. Meanwhile, the presence of other minority groups in those positions increased from 17 percent to 21 percent during the same period, according to a Government Accountability Office report released in November.

 

At Citi Bank, for instance, the percentage of Black managers and executives fell from one in six back in 2009 to about one in 10 in 2017, Bloomberg reported. At the same time, JPMorgan’s percentage of Black executives climbed to just 3 percent in 2017 from 2.6 percent in 2016, according to Hale, CEO of CultureBanx, a news outlet that focuses on business news for minorities.

The banks don’t need to look far to recruit talented Black banking executive. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), such as Howard University and Morehouse College, have been training scores of young professionals who could fill the ranks. At the same time, other business schools not at HBCUs were producing top-notch Black talent.

Some business schools were taking proactive steps to create opportunities for themselves on Wall Street. For example, Angel Onuoha, a Harvard Business School student, cofounded BLK Capital Management, Corp., a 100 percent Black-owned and student-run company focused on promoting the education of Black students and professional mentorship.

There really are no good excuses, Wall Street.

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