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Waters, Tri-Caucus Announce Diversity Report Next Steps, Responses from Federal Financial Services Regulators

Waters leads ongoing efforts to improve diversity in personnel and contracting at financial services agencies

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Washington, DC, January 8, 2016 | comments

In response to a Democratic staff report highlighting shortcomings in personnel diversity policies and practices at seven major financial regulators, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, along with senior members of the panel and members of the Tri-Caucus, released the agencies’ responses to the report’s recommendations for enhancing diversity in the workplace and improving compliance with diversity statutes, particularly section 1116 of the Housing Economic Recovery Act and section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

In letters to Ranking Member Waters, the agencies indicated that they have reviewed the report’s recommendations, and made commitments to tackle the persistent challenges women and minorities encounter when seeking access to senior management positions and federal contracts. Ranking Member Waters also announced her intention to host a public roundtable in the coming months as part of her ongoing commitment to monitor regulators’ compliance with diversity initiatives and laws.

“While I am pleased that financial services agencies have expressed a willingness to enhance their efforts to improve diversity among their ranks, I know that we need real action from these agencies for women, minorities, and women- and minority-owned businesses to see results,” said Ranking Member Waters of the Committee on Financial Services. “Diversity isn’t just a ‘buzzword.’ It’s an essential component of any 21st century workforce, especially in the Federal government, which is why I’m looking to the financial services regulators to lead, and not follow, when it comes to this issue.”

“We are pleased that financial service agencies are demonstrating a commitment to greater African American inclusion in the workforce,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield. “As we have stated before, a commitment to diversity at all levels is commendable but results are critical to ensuring that the workforce truly represents the United States.We look forward to financial service agencies making diversity not only a priority, but a reality.”

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu added, “I am encouraged that financial services agencies have made commitments to improve diversity and inclusion efforts that have been sorely lacking in this sector. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I know that our government works best when it reflects the diversity of our nation. I commend Ranking Member Waters for her leadership, and I look forward to working with her and my Tri-Caucus colleagues to ensure that financial services regulators reaffirm the commitments and values espoused in Dodd Frank and prioritize diversity among their ranks.”

“I appreciate the agencies’ responses to the report and hope their words are followed by actions. Our federal financial services agencies have a direct impact on the lives of all Americans, and employing a diverse workforce that is more reflective of the American people will only help them better understand the needs of the communities they serve. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure these agencies comply with existing diversity statutes and continue to make progress toward closing the diversity gap,” commented Rep. Torres on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Rep. Al Green continued, “As the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, I was honored to work under the leadership of the Honorable Maxine Waters to advocate for the auditing of workforce diversity within the federal financial regulatory agencies, which resulted in a report on this issue. I am heartened that the financial services agencies, have as a result of the report, indicated that they will work to improve diversity at their agencies. However, I still believe we need immediate, proactive remedies to have a meaningful impact on diversity deficiencies within the federal government—the largest employer in the United States. As a nation, we must continue to work to improve the inward and upward inclusion of minorities and women.”

“I am pleased that federal financial agencies have acknowledged the need to make deeper commitments in promoting and advancing the fair inclusion of women and minorities within the federal government. Federal agencies must do better; therefore, it is crucial that federal regulators fully develop diversity policies and initiatives required by section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. in a global economy. This nation’s diversity is one of our greatest assets, it is time our government and financial services industries reflected that,” concluded Rep. Joyce Beatty, a member of the Financial Services Committee who is leading efforts to implement diversity provisions including section 1116 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Read the agency letter responses here.

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