Ohio banking sector seeks to step up diversity efforts

The Ohio Bankers League has become a national leader in developing programs to improve diversity among bank employees and boards.

Its Summer Banking Institute, which offers internships for minority students, and the Diversity Directors College, which promotes diversity on bank boards, have attracted national attention.

OBL, the nonprofit trade association for the Ohio banking industry, is made up of over 170 FDIC-insured large and small financial institutions ranging in size from just over $ 13 million assets of over $ 2.5 trillion.

“Diversity is certainly an ongoing issue that we have worked hard on over the past two years,” said Evan Kleymeyer, senior vice president of government and external relations at OBL. “We celebrate the diversity of all underrepresented communities. For banks, it’s really a core issue of employees who look and feel like the community they serve.

Improving diversity is part of the OBL’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, which works with its members to change the face of banking.

“What do we look like as a banking industry – bank counsel and managers, bank management and employees? ” He asked. “We are looking for diversity at all levels of the institution.

It is difficult to determine diversity in the banking industry because banks and other financial services companies do not fully disclose their diversity and inclusion data. That’s because regulators are issuing guidelines, not requirements, on diversity, according to a 2020 Diversity and Inclusion report by majority staff of the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. United.

The report, which compiled data submitted by the 44 largest bank holding companies and loan holding companies in the United States, showed that the financial services industry remains predominantly white and male.

He found that banking institutions were 58% white in 2018. African Americans made up 12% of the workforce, Hispanics 11%, and Asian Americans 12%. In the boardroom, however, the top-level employee count is 71% male and 81% white.

The report noted that banks recruit diverse talent, create employee resource pools, and link diversity and inclusion results to performance.

OBL is committed to diversity, said Kleymeyer.

“There is no plan for this,” he said. “Everyone (in banking and other industries) is working on this problem, and I don’t think anyone has cracked the code on how to do it perfectly.”

Keith Borders, vice president of community development at Union Savings Bank, a residential mortgage lender headquartered in Cincinnati, said the OBL “does a dynamic job” on diversity.

Borders, a lawyer who has spent much of his career focusing on human resources, diversity and inclusion in the retail industry, said he was hired by Union Savings in 2016 specifically because of her diversity expertise and her work with communities.

“The banks had a long way to go, and I think our president was only looking for that kind of talent,” he said. Borders, who also sits on the board of directors of OBL, said the organization embraces the need to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, which is why she supported the suggestion of Union leaders. Savings to establish the summer internship program.

Here is an overview of the ongoing OBL DEI initiatives.


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