By Orla McCaffrey
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it would extend billions of dollars in additional loans to Black and Latino home buyers and small-business owners as part of a push to narrow America's racial wealth gap.
The bank -- America's largest -- said it is committing a total of $30 billion over five years to the effort, which focuses heavily on expanding access to affordable housing as well as boosting minority-owned small businesses.
Some $8 billion will go toward funding an additional 40,000 mortgages to Black and Latino home buyers. JPMorgan also said it would devote $14 billion to finance 100,000 affordable rental units, lend $2 billion to small businesses in majority Black and Latino communities and open new branches in underserved areas of Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit.
"Systemic racism is a tragic part of America's history," Chief Executive James Dimon said in a statement. "We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality."
JPMorgan joins a long list of companies that have thrown their financial support behind racial-justice efforts in the months since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, sparking a wave of protests throughout the U.S.
Still, the $30 billion pledge represents a fraction of JPMorgan's $3.2 trillion in assets. The bank had almost $190 billion in home loans on its balance sheet as of June.
JPMorgan and other U.S. banks have faced numerous complaints about their treatment of Black employees and customers over the years. Mr. Dimon has said the bank needs to do more to combat racism and promote diversity within its ranks.
In 2017, JPMorgan paid $55 million to settle allegations that independent brokers it used charged some Black and Hispanic borrowers higher mortgage rates. The bank in 2018 set aside $4.5 million to recruit and mentor Black employees and provide antibias training as part of a settlement with six Black financial advisers who said the bank's "systemic, intentional race discrimination" led to lower pay and fewer advancement opportunities.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires