Banks step up to help shift economy back into gear

As the United States embarks on the path to economic recovery, the nation’s banks are preparing for an unprecedented post-pandemic boom. Financial institutions are anxious to invest in job creators and workers alike to help fuel a hoped-for V-shaped recovery.

The data is clear, according to economists eyeing a rapid recovery: as nations emerge from self-imposed lockdown, they will see tremendous growth.

Despite predictions of up to 20% national unemployment in May of 2020, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics announced earlier this month that the United States’ unemployment rate dropped from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May. The economy added a whopping 2.5 million  jobs within four weeks.

This all unfolds in the background of another glaring issue facing America. With the murder of George Floyd at the hands of now-charged Minneapolis police officers sparking national outrage, a movement to end police brutality and eradicate racism has swept across every corner of the United States.

Financial institutions and job creators are taking notice, seeking to make more opportunities available for people of color and aiming to be a part of the solution.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has resolved to “commit that [Wells Fargo] will do all we can to support our diverse communities and foster a company culture that deeply values and respects diversity and inclusion.” 

Scharf says that Wells Fargo will take part in creating an “economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity.”

This is in addition to the bank’s suspension of “residential property foreclosure sales, evictions, and involuntary automobile repossessions.”

Bank of America

Bank of America has announced a $1 billion commitment to economic opportunity initiatives over the next four years. The comprehensive program will focus on four main areas: health, job training, small business support, and housing. 

“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” CEO Brian Moynihan said. “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”

Recognizing the reality of racism and actively working to solve it, this initiative is focused towards empowering communities too often ignored.

Western Alliance

Western Alliance Bank has also announced its intentions to reinvest in America. They have pledged $2 million “to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on its local communities, and to strengthen those communities as they emerge from the crisis.”

The bank also contributed $150,000 directly to Arizona’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Joe Pitts

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