JP Morgan’s Dimon “disgusted by racism” and calls for active review of culture

18 December 2019: The CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, has said he is “disgusted by racism and hate in any form”, after a New York Times article exposed racism within the firm – towards both employees and customers.

The article, entitled This is what racism sounds like in the banking industry, revealed that when one customer enquired as to why he was facing difficulties in becoming a private client at the firm he was told: “You’re bigger than the average person…and you’re also an African-American.” The customer, Mr Kennedy, had been recording the conversation, which he subsequently shared with the New York Times. The article further uncovered racism at JP Morgan towards its own employees, including denying one black employee promotion opportunity.

In response to the findings, Dimon has said that racist or hateful behaviour of any kind “explicit or veiled, deliberate or unconscious – is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as a company and how we serve our clients and communities every day.” Managers have subsequently been asked to actively review the bank’s policies, practices and culture. The full memo read:

“Dear colleagues,

I am disgusted by racism and hate in any form. Any such behavior — explicit or veiled, deliberate or unconscious — is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as a company and how we serve our clients and communities every day.

We must make sure that the culture we aspire to reaches every corner of our company. We have done some great work on diversity and inclusion, but it’s not enough. We must be absolutely relentless on doing more. I’ve instructed my management team to continually look into our policies, procedures, management practices and culture to set and achieve the highest possible standards. There is always more we can do.

Racism has existed for too long — in our country, in our communities — and unfortunately, at times, even at our company. But this is not who we are. We want all of you to be active in making needed progress.

We will use this moment as an opportunity to do better — as leaders, as employees and as human beings.”

The New York Times article comes only a year after JP Morgan paid $24 million to settle a case of discrimination brought by six black employees.