Top DEI Bosses Have a Problem – Diversity

Jeremy Bagott
Latest posts by Jeremy Bagott (see all)

DEI Bosses at Financial Institutions Have a Problem - Diversity. 

The ranks of the new DEI bosses at the financial institutions are no more diverse than the appraisers their institutions see as the enemy. If the lack of diversity of appraisers is inherently bad, how could the same not be said for the DEI bosses? 

A full 93 percent of U.S. birdwatchers are white. Just 4 percent are African-American and a paltry 1 percent are Asian-American. Just 5 percent are Hispanic (which includes both blacks and whites). This was according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as reported in National Geographic a number of years ago. Another study found the largest age group of birdwatchers was between 55 and 64. The upshot: America’s birdwatchers are mostly old and white.

Neither money nor social connections are required to be a birdwatcher. In every category, home birdwatchers outnumbered away-from-home birdwatchers, sometimes by as much as four to one. It suggests anyone sitting at home with decent vision can qualify in the eyes of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a birdwatcher. Literally, anyone can step outside or gaze through a window or go to a public park – whether in a city or a suburb or in the country – and be a birdwatcher. There is nothing exclusionary about birdwatching, and the birds don’t care who watches them.

The imbalance has befuddled Big Birdwatching, embodied by the Audubon Society. But in the end, the disparity might be best summed up by the French phrase “Vive la difference.”

While the uneven plumage of America’s birdwatchers might get a pass, another situation deserves closer scrutiny – the top diversity, equity and inclusion bosses being hired by U.S. financial institutions. One would expect the ranks of such diversity officials in any industry to be extraordinarily diverse, a paragon of diversity – the most diverse of any group of practitioners. But paradoxically, the largest financial institutions in the United States have filled these slots with little thought to diversity.

Author Jeremy Bagott examined DEI appointments – the acronym “DEI” has now been mainstreamed – at 25 of the nation’s largest chartered banks, along with those at Freddie and Fannie, the credit-card issuers and the largest digital banks.

He found the ranks of DEI officers dominated by a single gender. Of the top DEI officials at the top 25 institutions, 19 were women. For DEI bosses to look like America, more than double the current number would need to be men.

He also found that a full 23 of the 25 were African-Americans. In the 2020 census, the Black or African-American population accounted for 12.4 percent of all people living in the United States. At these institutions, 92 percent of the DEI bosses were African-American, just 4 percent were Asian-American and just 4 percent were white (counting both Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites).

Why are African-Americans – particularly African-American women – so overrepresented in this position? For lenders and financial firms, hiring African-American women checks two sensitive boxes, since these institutions have been sinking their talons into African-American women in the form of so-called affinity schemes for sub-optimal mortgages; waived, abridged or inflated appraisals; crypto-currency products; high-interest credit-card debt; and redundant bank accounts. The poster child of this targeted abuse was the 91-year-old African-American widow Addie Polk. Her story was the centerpiece of the 2020 docuseries “The Con” by filmmakers Eric Vaughan and Patrick Lovell.

When it comes to junk fees, predatory loans, abusive cross-promotions, refinancing churn, late penalties and hidden yield-spread premiums, financial institutions have viewed African-Americans – particularly African-American women – the same way a robin eyes a worm.

In August 2021, the U.S. Federal Reserve looked for racial discrimination in mortgage approvals using new data. It found no evidence of discrimination, but did find something else: Black and Hispanic applicants tended to have disproportionately greater loan debt – “leverage” in the report – than white and Asian applicants. It can only mean they are sold loan products to a greater extent and at a greater velocity than the public at large.

The abuses have been well-documented, especially after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In their book “Predatory Lending and the Destruction of the African-American Dream,” wrote law professors Janis Pearl Sarra and Cheryl Wade:

“Millions of middle-class and high-income African-Americans who qualified for regular fixed-rate, long-term mortgages were steered to subprime mortgages. For the most part, white American borrowers who had credit histories identical to the credit histories of African-American borrowers were not targeted for subprime mortgages.”

There are new signs commissioned salespeople have descended on neighborhoods, using affinity schemes to assist black homeowners in depleting home equity or shoveling equity into credit-card debt traps with frequent refinancings. In 2020, the Greenlining Institute, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit, reported that the eight largest nonbank mortgage lenders in the state had lent disproportionately to black and Hispanic home buyers when compared with chartered banks in the state. That, too, suggests targeting.

To ward off public opprobrium, institutions now appear to be favoring female African-American candidates for these DEI positions and potentially discriminating against male African-Americans, and all non-black Hispanic, Asian, white or indigenous applicants for the positions. These institutions may be signaling in subtle ways that certain applicants need not apply. If it is occurring, it would be a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

While these institutions fill DEI positions with primarily African-American women, the financial targeting of minority consumers appears to be happening in the growing acceptance of inflated appraisals through the subversion of the long-established valuation principle of substitution – the bedrock of the sales comparison approach to value.

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the nonbank lenders, particularly the fintechs, have wanted human gatekeepers – the appraisers – out of the picture for some time. With race being au courant in America, appraisers are conveniently under attack for being too white, too male and too old. With this as a pretext, they’ve been targeted for the same fate as Bachman’s Warbler or the Himalayan Quail. But the appraisers’ extinction would come at great risk to the taxpayer – the pigeon of last resort for bailouts as America discovered in the summer and fall of 2008.

Overly burdensome and continually changing regulations, along with pressure on fees, have created high barriers to entry and low interest in the appraisal profession among young people. To complicate matters, some state and federal entities involved in appraiser regulation have been operating outside their statutory authority for many years, creating additional chaos.

The fintechs, together with their patrons Fannie and Freddie, have lobbied for so-called “black box” appraisals, which are valuations based on proprietary computer models (this approach had disastrous results for pension funds that relied on Moody’s, S&P and Fitch to value mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the 2007-2008 financial crisis). Fannie and Freddie have also engaged in a dogged effort to prevent appraisers from physically inspecting many of the properties they appraise – so-called hybrid appraisals. The mortgage industry – especially the fintechs – view human appraisers as slowing the “transaction velocity” and, thus, slowing serial refinancings. This erodes both the bonuses of top executives and the commissions of the lowliest mortgage brokers. This time around they’ve fixed their sights on lack of diversity among appraisers as a pretext for eliminating them. The push may succeed.

But the ranks of the new diversity-and-inclusion bosses at the financial institutions are no more diverse than the appraisers their institutions see as the enemy. If the lack of diversity of appraisers is inherently bad, how could the same not be said for the DEI bosses? They fail by their own measure.

But unlike the anemic appraisal profession, newcomers have been flocking to join the ranks of the newly minted DEI bosses.

“All of a sudden, anyone who had a passion for justice decided to form a side-hustle consulting company,” Stephanie Creary, assistant professor of management at the Wharton School, told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. “Employers were scrambling for those folks.”

Creary, who functions as a DEI gatekeeper of sorts, told the Inquirer she has a go-to list of contacts, many with Philadelphia-area ties. She has recommended Quinetta Roberson, who was a longtime professor at Villanova University; Oscar Holmes, at Rutgers-Camden, who now consults; and Sulaiman Rahman, who is the CEO of DiverseForce, a staffing firm.

She hears from companies after they hire DEI greenhorns with dubious bona fides. “The clients often say, ‘They sounded good, but they lacked a track record.’ Then they call me.”

According to a new market study published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. the global market for Diversity and Inclusion is estimated at $9.3 billion in the year 2022, is projected to reach a revised size of $15.4 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6 percent over the projection period.

Tapping into the trend, the Wharton School will offer an MBA in “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” starting with the 2023-2024 academic year. A webpage for the new MBA program states that the “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” major would prepare “students to face the challenges involved in creating and maintaining organizations that are diverse, inclusive, and rooted in equity.” The total cost of an MBA at the Wharton School in 2022 is, according to the university, $167,748.

The DEI hires of 2022 – although they could not meet together in a room without their own diversity shortcomings being obvious – are an impressive group, with many practitioners holding advanced degrees from Ivy League schools like Penn and Columbia. Addie Polk, were she alive today, and her fellow parishioners at her Ohio Baptist church, which was infiltrated by mortgage brokers in an affinity scheme by the now-defunct Countrywide – with Freddie and Fannie waiting in the wings to purchase or guarantee the notes – would take little solace in the impressive DEI hires at the big financial institutions.

Regardless, “Birds of a feather flock together” cannot be allowed to be the new motto for the diversity bosses.

OPTIONAL SIDEBAR

Financial institutions appear to be armoring up by hiring mostly African-American women as high-visibility heads of corporate diversity, equity and inclusion. Meanwhile, some of these organizations may be rebranding the old affinity schemes – racial targeting – as “outreach” and “inclusion.”

Before lender Ameriquest’s spectacular collapse, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division had brought a case against the subprime lender for padding mortgages made to minorities, women and the elderly, and for engaging in bait-and-switch tactics. Countrywide Financial was also in government crosshairs for targeting black and Hispanic Americans, along with the elderly. After the crisis, the Justice Department levied big fines against its new owner, Bank of America, over 10,000 toxic subprime mortgages. The now-bankrupt nonbank New Century was also linked to predatory lending.

Author Jeremy Bagott, who is also a licensed appraiser, looked at the heads of DEI at 25 of the nation’s largest financial organizations. Two breakdowns follow:

GENDER BREAKDOWN – TOP DEI POSITIONS AT 25 FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS BY GENDER

Female

  1. Sharifa A. Anderson, Fannie Mae
  2. Jimmie Walton Paschall, Wells Fargo
  3. Cynthia Bowman, Bank of America
  4. Erika Irish Brown, Citibank
  5. Gina Coleman, PNC Bank
  6. Kimberly Moore-Wright, Truist Financial Corporation
  7. Megan Hogan, Goldman Sachs
  8. Theresita Richard, Capital One
  9. Yau Cheng, BNY Mellon
  10. Stephanie A. Smith, Fifth Third
  11. Angela Morris Lovelace, Silicon Valley Bank
  12. Susan Reid, Morgan Stanley
  13. Michelle Gethers Clark, Visa
  14. Sonia Cargan, American Express
  15. Jonita Wilson, Discover Financial Services
  16. Kim Jenkins Manigault, PayPal
  17. Erica Johnson, Chime
  18. Ana Recio, SoFi
  19. Trina Govan Scott, Quicken Loans

Male

  1. Wendell Chambliss, Freddie Mac
  2. Brian Lamb, JPMorgan Chase
  3. Greg Cunningham, U.S. Bancorp
  4. John D. Patton, TD Bank
  5. Paul Francisco, State Street Bank
  6. Randall Tucker, Mastercard

AFRICAN-AMERICAN (OR BLACK) VS. NON-AFRICAN-AMERICAN (OR BLACK) BREAKDOWN – TOP DEI POSITIONS AT 25 FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

African-American (or Black)

  1. Sharifa A. Anderson, Fannie Mae
  2. Jimmie Walton Paschall, Wells Fargo
  3. Cynthia Bowman, Bank of America
  4. Erika Irish Brown, Citibank
  5. Gina Coleman, PNC Bank
  6. Kimberly Moore-Wright, Truist Financial Corporation
  7. Megan Hogan, Goldman Sachs
  8. Theresita Richard, Capital One
  9. Stephanie A. Smith, Fifth Third
  10. Angela Morris Lovelace, Silicon Valley Bank
  11. Susan Reid, Morgan Stanley
  12. Michelle Gethers Clark, Visa
  13. Sonia Cargan, American Express
  14. Jonita Wilson, Discover Financial Services
  15. Kim Jenkins Manigault, PayPal
  16. Erica Johnson, Chime
  17. Trina Govan Scott, Quicken Loans
  18. Wendell Chambliss, Freddie Mac
  19. Brian Lamb, JPMorgan Chase
  20. Greg Cunningham, U.S. Bancorp
  21. John D. Patton, TD Bank
  22. Paul Francisco, State Street Bank
  23. Randall Tucker, Mastercard

Non-African-American (or Non-Black)

  1. Ana Recio, SoFi
  2. Yau Cheng, BNY Mellon

Institutions and Hires Evaluated:

Fannie Mae: Sharifa Anderson is Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer. Previously, she was chief diversity and inclusion officer at Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh.

Freddie Mac: Wendell Chambliss is Freddie Mac’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

JPMorgan Chase: Brian Lamb is Chase’s global head of diversity and inclusion, a newly created position at the bank.

Wells Fargo: Jimmie Walton Paschall is executive vice president, head of enterprise diversity & inclusion and strategic philanthropy at Wells Fargo and Company.

Bank of America:  Cynthia Bowman is chief diversity and inclusion and talent acquisition officer.

Citibank: Erika Irish Brown is chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Citibank. Before joining Citi, she served as chief diversity officer at Goldman Sachs.

U.S. Bancorp: Greg Cunningham is senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer.

PNC Bank: Gina Coleman is PNC Bank’s chief diversity officer. In addition to developing strategies and programs for PNC’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Truist Financial Corporation: Kimberly Moore-Wright is chief teammate officer and head of enterprise diversity at Truist Financial Corporation.

Goldman Sachs: Megan Hogan is chief diversity officer of Goldman Sachs.

TD Bank: John D. Patton is vice president and head of U.S. diversity and inclusion for TD Bank.

Capital One: Theresita Richard leads Capital One’s diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy, and serves as the lead to the Capital One Racial Equity Initiative.

BNY Mellon: Yau Cheng is managing director, global head of diversity, equity and inclusion at BNY Mellon.

State Street Bank: Paul Francisco is chief diversity officer.

Fifth Third: Stephanie Smith serves as senior vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer for Fifth Third Bancorp.

Silicon Valley Bank: Angela Morris Lovelace is chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Silicon Valley Bank. Prior to joining the bank in 2020, she spent 16 years at Bank of America, where she served in various leadership roles in Human Resources, DEI and Information Security.

Morgan Stanley: Susan Reid is global head of diversity and inclusion.

Mastercard: Randall Tucker is Mastercard’s chief inclusion officer.

Visa: Michelle Gethers Clark is chief diversity officer and head of corporate responsibility.

American Express: Sonia Cargan is chief diversity, equity and inclusion and talent officer.

Discover Financial Services: Jonita Wilson is vice president, chief diversity officer.

PayPal: Kim Jenkins Manigault is PayPal’s global head of diversity and inclusion. Before joining PayPal, she was chief diversity and inclusion officer at KeyBank.

Chime: Erica Johnson is head of diversity, equity and belonging at Chime.

SoFi: Ana Recio, senior vice president, talent and diversity at SoFi.

Quicken Loans: Trina Govan Scott is chief diversity officer at Quicken Loans.

Jeremy Bagott

Jeremy Bagott

Jeremy Bagott is a real estate appraiser and former newspaperman. His most recent book, “The Ichthyologist’s Guide to the Subprime Meltdown,” is a concise almanac that distills the cataclysmic financial crisis of 2007-2008 to its essence. This pithy guide to the upheaval includes essays, chronologies, roundups and key lists, weaving together the stories of the politics-infused Freddie and Fannie; the doomed Wall Street investment banks Lehman and Bear Stearns; the dereliction of duty by the Big Three credit-rating services; the mayhem caused by the shadowy nonbank lenders; and the massive government bailouts. It provides a rapid-fire succession of “ah-hah” moments as it lays out the meltdown, convulsion by convulsion.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Xpert says:

    Excellent and insightful article!! Thank you Mr Bagott for being one of the very few voices in our profession countering the accusations against us appraisers.

    14
  2. Avatar jaydee says:

    I now “Identify” as a black transgender non-binary male to female. Can I be hired too?

    6
    • Avatar spor says:

      yes i agree this is how stupid et ignorant this dumocrat DEI bs is. its all about money et votes. doesn’t common sense exist in dumocrats anymore? wake up people!!!!!!!

      1
  3. Avatar Jack says:

    I’m the chief diversity officer at my brokerage…I’m going to sanction myself for only having female associates. I am hoping the chief diversity officer at my favorite strip club can keep up his good work of hiring only females

    0
  4. Avatar VA Klein says:

    Things that make you go “hmmmmmmmm”

    3
  5. Avatar Steve says:

    What is DEI? Diversity, Equity and Inclusion? If so……how about SPELLING IT OUT because a lot of people do not know.

    0
  6. Fantastic article! I agree with your points. One thing I’ve noticed in DEI is that it’s just lip service and color washing. They hire a female of color for DEI and put mainly POC on their website, brochures as the public face of the company. There are meetings, emails, presentations but no real change in diversity, equity or inclusion. The annual company diversity reports show older white men still run the show and make more money in most industries. I don’t think DEI agents will really change things just like AMCs didn’t. It’s just for show.

    While I welcome more diversity the false narrative of the “racist appraiser” has nothing to do with the fact that most appraisers are older, white men. AEI research showed no racism in appraisals. People have only been yelling “racism” after the racial reckoning caused by the murder of George Floyd and growth of BLM. Before that they just called us deal killers when they didn’t like our values in quickly changing markets.

    5
  7. Baggins Baggins says:

    The diversity movement has been co opted by several different and competing for profit special interest groups. The concept is biased in itself, when everyone is a protected class except one specific group. That basically creates a space to openly discriminate against the one non protected group. As ‘diversity consultants’ also invade school systems and are capitalized by both government school funds, as well as private industry partnerships in the medical community and beyond. Gender re assignment and care clinics create life long customers, real money makers, exponential increases in their sudden contrived presence, focusing their predatory behaviors on the minority populace. Large not for profit companies focusing on race seek to carve out new financial gain opportunities with artificial subsidies to only certain specific groups, subjecting the majority of citizens to taxation without representation in the process.

    Artificial constructs get to a point where the whole thing then must be perpetuated by propaganda and other destructive means, because the majority of participants in the free market are not supporters. Remember, nobody elected the banks to lead anything, they’re just banks. Banks like the school systems need to stick to their lane, limit their focus to the financial and academic purposes for which the institutions exist in the first place, quit the politicking. Think about it, there is enough qualified DEI consultants there to just start their own bank… Why fight the tide, just go start your own bank. Anyone care to add up their collective salaries?

    2

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Top DEI Bosses Have a Problem – Diversity

by Jeremy Bagott time to read: 10 min
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