We first discuss the multiple benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for financial institutions, the challenges and opportunities institutions face in implementing a DEI strategy, and how DEI applies beyond an institution’s workforce.  We then consider the risk of discrimination claims arising from DEI programs and the role of legal counsel in the development and implementation of DEI strategies. … Continue Reading

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (“OMWI”) has released guidance and recommendations for small, midsize, and large organizations to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion (“D&I”), taking size and resources into account.  The guidance and recommendations are contained in  a Report on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) within Financial Services (the “Report”), and are designed to both support the implementation of Section 342 of the Dodd Frank Act as outlined in the Joint Standards for Assessing Diversity Policies and Practices of Entities (the “Standards”), and reflect the CFPB’s efforts to further the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equality and Support for Underserved Communities.… Continue Reading

To further its ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced an initiative to collect and publish diversity data on the demographic makeup of NY-regulated financial institution’s boards and senior management teams.  In its July 29th business industry letter, DFS emphasized that transparency around this data will help measure progress toward DEI goals, allow firms to assess where they stand relative to their peers, and increase transparency and accountability.… Continue Reading

Tomorrow, April 20, the House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to mark-up a series of bills that include a bill dealing with debt collection and two bills dealing with the diversity and inclusion practices of banks and other federally-regulated entities.

Debt collection.  H.R. 2547, the “Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act,” includes the following provisions:

  • Title I, the “Small Business Lending Fairness Act,” would amend the Truth in Lending Act to prohibit the use of a confession of judgment, warrant of attorney, “or other waiver of the right to notice and the opportunity to be heard in the event of suit or process thereon,” in both consumer and business purpose credit transactions, “including any advance of funds or sale or assignment of future income or receivables that may or may not be credit.”
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On March 15, 2021, the FDIC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) released a Financial Institution Letter regarding diversity self-assessments.  In accordance with Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the FDIC is calling on its supervised institutions with 100 or more employees to submit voluntary self-assessments of their diversity policies and practices. … Continue Reading

I am truly excited to announce a new program that our Consumer Financial Services Group is launching this year, which is aimed at increasing the number of diverse lawyers – lawyers who have overcome one or more substantial obstacles in pursuing a legal career, come from a disadvantaged background, and/or are under-represented in the legal community – within the consumer financial services industry.… Continue Reading

Earlier this month, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden recommending various actions that the Biden Administration should take in the financial services arena.  Chairman Waters and members of her staff are expected to have a strong voice in shaping the Biden Administration’s approach to financial services regulatory policy. … Continue Reading

On March 23, 2020, the FDIC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) announced that it will request 2019 diversity self-assessments from FDIC-regulated financial institutions.  The FDIC regulates insured state banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System and insured state thrifts.  This year’s self-assessment application is presented on a new automated platform designed to increase efficiency and encourage more participation from the institutions. … Continue Reading

Following hearings this past spring, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement that the Committee finds more work is needed to improve diversity at megabanks.  The statement, released on August 13, included data gathered from eight of the nation’s largest banks in response to letters to those institutions from Chairwoman Waters and Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH).… Continue Reading

In this week’s podcast, we review the four key focus areas of the 2015 diversity and inclusion standards adopted by the Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion at the CFPB and other federal financial regulators, identify issues regulated entities should consider in addressing those areas and deciding whether to conduct D&I self-assessments, and discuss the evolving Congressional and regulatory D&I landscape since 2015, including recent letters sent to regulated entities regarding D&I efforts and self-assessments and D&I benefits for letter recipients to consider.… Continue Reading