Artwork for podcast Working On Wellbeing
Alice Rodriguez: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
22nd September 2021 • Working On Wellbeing • Salary Finance
00:00:00 00:49:14

Share Episode

Shownotes

In this episode, we hear from Alice Rodriguez, who talks about her role and the commitments JPMorgan Chase are making to close the wealth gap in the US with their $30 billion initiative.

For the full show notes, head on over to:

https://www.salaryfinance.com/us/podcast/Alice-Rodriguez-Closing-the-Racial-Wealth-Gap

Transcripts

Anita Ward 0:00

Welcome to Working on Wellbeing, where we share stories of purpose-driven people doing good in the world. We'll meet change agents, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, and big thinkers to learn about their wow moment, and how it got them to where they are today. This show is brought to you by salary finance. And I'm your host, Anita Ward, cultural anthropologist, and Chief Development Officer at Salary Finance.

the first time we met. It was:

Alice Rodriguez 2:33

Hey, thanks, Anita. There were so many wonderful memories when we both started our careers at Texas commerce bank. It's shocking even to say, but I will be with the bank for 35 years at the end of this year. And honestly, they've just been wonderful. I've had an opportunity to work in several lines of business like you already mentioned. About the big news you saw, I was three weeks away from it and at peace as you recall from that cab drive ... I was delighted with it. I just felt like I had so much I wanted to give to the community. At that time, my boss said, "Not so fast. There are more things to consider, and I'd love for you to delay your retirement." And then she told me all about the firm's commitment around the $30 billion to advance racial equity. She gave me 24 hours to think about it.

Anita Ward 3:38

oh my god, it's a typical make a decision now.

Alice Rodriguez 3:42

d if you had asked me back in:

Anita Ward 4:52

Yeah. It seems that it's a new topic, and sadly it took a pandemic and lots of social justice issues to highlight the inequities last year. We have been pushing that boulder of financial wellbeing up that hill, and it keeps rolling back down. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear. Because it takes an organization like chase with the means of fortitude, infrastructure, purpose, and passion for lifting that boulder. I'm excited that we'll have sustainable change. If you don't mind, I may want to take the conversation in a different direction. I want to begin at the beginning because our stories we just shared, what it was like to be mothers 25 years ago, shape and drive us toward this change, particularly around financial inclusion. So would you share your story and start there?

Alice Rodriguez 6:08

I was born with neither of my parents had more than a seventh-grade education. Both of them are very hard workers. My mother was an immigrant from Mexico and came to this country at thirteen years old. I would give her a hundred percent credit because she was the one who really raised us. She grew up in a very typical family like faith. She was raised a Catholic, and there were nuns in her family. So she was very strict with us. It was important for her to make sure that we had a church life and hard work. My father was a shrimper, and my mother, too, did whatever job she could do to put food on the table. She did everything she could, do migrant work with her family, clean the house, and cook for us. She made mandalas during Christmas and sold those during the holidays. So my upbringing was one of the many extended families because my mom came from a family of 12. My mother used to say this all the time, "life is not fair. Get over it, and do what you have to do to succeed in life." To watch this woman drive from Brownsville, Texas to Illinois, drop me off, and drop my sister at another place. Take everyone and drop them off wherever and go to work was exceptional. I've shared this story with you because it indeed has always been very impactful to me. But when my mom did this, you know, I stayed with an aunt in Chicago, and one day, my aunt with her, you know, four children take me to the Sears Tower. And it's not called that anymore, of course. But at the time, you know, this was like 19, probably 73 years the Sears Tower was the tallest building I think it was this big deal and recognize that I was raised in a town where a probably at the time, there was only like between 80 and 100,000 people there. The tallest building in our city was like four storeys, I think it'd be the best. Yeah, it was a pain. You know, like, how terrifying it was to give this elevator that was gonna go like all these floors. But I remember like, the most impactful thing for me just even being in the city of Chicago at the time was how many people were coming into the Sears Tower, you know, with your suits, and you know, nice dresses and briefcases. And it kind of like was the first time it kind of hit me that nobody in our family had jobs like that many of my uncles and cousins worked in the Meatpacking plants in Chicago, and some sort of, you know, either migrant work or I always say I was so lucky to be born in the sort of the second half of the cousins because I had 51 first cousins at that. And when I listened to my older cousins that are about 15 years older than me, they're like, Oh, yeah, you know, when Theo Mo, say, used to come around with the truck and say, Hey, do you want to spend time with your cousins this summer? And they would say, that's a great idea. And as my cousin Benny has one of the older cousins says, next thing I know it Alice, I'm in this like, field, all these people, and I'm not any better. So thank God that, you know, that was something that I had to experience. But my point in the story here was I realized that there were other people I had other lives. And I always wondered like, how do you get a job like that? Like, how do you get a job where you can work inside an office, you know, more a nice dress and carry a briefcase and stuff. So it was sort of like that inspiration that stuck with me, you know, as a nine-year-old kid.

Anita Ward:

My story is slightly different from yours. But there are so many parallels - my parents came from Italy, my grandpa didn't speak English. My mom grew up in a family of 13. So similar. So we have probably the same number of first cousins along the way, you and I, but my mom and dad never figured out exactly where to get that financial footing. So thank God, we had a huge extended family because we literally couch served so shared bedrooms with cousins stayed with cousins, the broader network, the family network helped us make it. But I never learned things like the language of money. My inspirational moment came when I worked at McDonald's, and the manager asked me, did I have a bank account? Because I was 15. And I had no idea. You know, where do you cash your check for me, my mama cashed your check at Binion's at the big wheel. Right. So I didn't know financial institutions but started thinking about a moment that I don't often share. I shared with you the other day that I was terrified when I joined the bank because I didn't speak the language of money. So I had no idea how I was going to navigate. I was a senior vice president, how was I going to navigate just those Friday meetings when the chairman put up all the financials and talked about what was happening in the capital markets. And I thought, Oh, for God's sake, I'm a cultural anthropologist. I know people in technology, I have no idea what they're talking about. And I don't know about your family. But the market to me meant Kroger, right. I mean, I'm sitting in a meeting and Marc's talking about what's happening in the market. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, and equity and stock. I mean, are we stocking the shelves at Kroger, where are we going? And so I have to admit that I came in, even to the bank at that level in my career, knowing nothing about investments and wealth. And so think about how many other needs are out there. Just trying to figure out how do I speak this language? How do I navigate it? I just did you guys talk about finances in at home

Alice Rodriguez:

now is back to your point about a lot of similarities, right? In the sense that I was the first one to graduate in my family from college. So remember, parents didn't go to high school, like they had Fs, you know, seventh-grade education. No, we never talked about money. And for them, it was all about just putting food on the table. Because you know, with their jobs, they were so seasonal in nature, like they had big credit at the local grocery store. Because now my dad was a stripper, he wouldn't come back and you know, another three months, and so she, my mother would just have to figure out how to make $1, like, really, really stretch, and even their house in here. Like they bought it from a relative and the relative owner finance, as they'd never been to a bank to get a mortgage or to buy a car to do all of those things. So, yes, it was very foreign for me as well. And it was, you want to ask a lot of questions because you don't want, it seems like you don't know. And you're looking around and saying, Oh my god, I must be like, really dumb. And the reality is that it's not about that, right? It's just about the exposure and the knowledge. And there are probably many, many, many more people like you and I, that are sitting in, you know, in corporate settings, or in other places that they just need the guidance, the knowledge, and not put in this very complicated way. Because let's be honest, as bankers, we tend to like want to talk about things in these like, really like interesting concepts, as opposed to No, it's not exactly as complicated as that.

Anita Ward:

Right? Mortgage-backed securities, okay, let's talk about what that means. And the first time I heard that, I thought, Oh, my gosh, now I think, Oh, my God, but I actually don't know Alice, how you did end up in banking. And you just said, you know, your kids asked you. For me, it was purely accidental. But how did you make your way into the bank?

Alice Rodriguez:

Yeah, so I graduated from college in 1986. And as you know, I knew that it wasn't the best time in Texas to be looking for a job. So we have the little bust the real estate bust all going on at the same time. And so I actually got a job with a SNL out of Houston that had hired this management company to manage some of the foreclosed properties. And so I was like, on this property really doing like bookkeeping. And this happened, this went on for about No, six months and I thought, Okay, you've got to get a job with benefits now, like, all good, but it was more of a temp, you know, kind of job. And so this is the part that always breaks my kids up. So I said I was looking in the paper.

Anita Ward:

I can relate circling.

Alice Rodriguez:

Like, why don't you want to internet Mom, I go because it did not exist. That's why. But anyway, I saw a job as a loan teller at Texas power bank. And I thought, what a loan Teller, like I never heard of that, right. So I went to the bank, and you know, I applied for the job. And it turns out that a loan teller at that time was just really someone who took the commercial loan payments, they just had it separated from the regular cleaning tellers. And I didn't know this at the time, but they were actually looking for someone who could assist the loan manager, she was looking for a succession plan. And so they thought, okay, let's get this hire somebody to be kind of a right hand. But let's use this position right now to see you know, who we can get, etc, etc. And I'll never forget, you know, they actually had me interview with the chairman of the bank at the time, Bobby Duffy. And I didn't know that because I thought to myself, this is kind of weird. Why am interviewing for Mattel? Right? And he asked me this really interesting question, he goes, I want you to know that we have looked at your references, and we've called them to verify them. And we see here that you worked for JC Penney for five years. And I did from the time I was 16, until I graduated from college, and they said that if you don't take this job with us to send you right back to them because they want you to come into their retail training program. They're like, after working there five years, why don't you just go to their program, right. And I was so afraid. And either because the reason I didn't stay with Petey is because they did offer me that opportunity, obviously, was because at that time, you know, like those trainees worked all of the terrible hours that retail stores have, right, so like the 12 to nine scheduled like every day and weekends. And I thought I don't want to work at the weekends. And besides that, the bank is closed down.

Anita Ward:

see how that worked out for you.

Alice Rodriguez:

This is God's way of saying Ha ha, ha,-

Anita Ward:

you thought you had a plan?

Alice Rodriguez:

Exactly, exactly. But that's how I ended up at the bank.

Anita Ward:

That's great. Tell me about this new initiative. Because you know, I've been dying to hear more. But for me, you know, I'm a data nerd. So you know how I get crazed about the data. And when I hear things like over the next five years, close the wealth gap. First, I get super excited about it, but just for our audience, because they might not be as close Can I share just a couple of data points that I think are important to frame why I think you're doing this and why I think it needs to be done. But in my world, if you think about homeownership, as one of those components of the health of wealth, so like your family, my mom and her 13 siblings grew up in 800 square feet. And that home was then sold to one of, you know, one of the children. So we don't really think about homeownership. But if you look at homeownership among white families in the US, it's 70%. So there's some generational wealth build up there. But if you look at Hispanic families, it's only 45%. And if you look at African American families, it's only 44%. So I look at that box of wealth related to homeownership and say, Oh, my gosh, that's a huge divide. And then I look at stock because you know, now that I'm smart about it, Atlas, I, you know what, as an aside, the first time the bank gave me options, I had no idea what the heck they were. And everybody was like, wow, you got options. And I'm like, Okay, what do I do with these things? What are they can I sell them. And I look at stock, white families, 57% Hispanic families, 37%, and African American families 30%. So again, the giant gap in between just stuck in that includes all the 401 Ks, which means that Hispanic and African Americans, the LatinX community and the African American, they're not even participating in a 401k. So they're passing on some of that free money. And then the part that breaks my heart the most is I look at the percentage of families with $0. net worth might even tear up the minute. But when you look at $0, and you look at white families, there's only 15% that are at zero net worth, and we know about poverty and how we need to address it. But when you look at Latin x communities, that's 30% Atlas at zero net worth, and African American 40%. So when we talk about the challenge that you're facing, we had seller finance, we're headquartered in Boston for the US. And there's a very famous Federal Reserve Bank report that looked at Boston, and for white families in Boston, the average net worth was $250,000. The average net worth I have an African American family in Boston is $8. So when I kind of pull all this together, back to my Sisyphus, right, you guys are pushing a giant boulder with huge divides. So I'm thinking, how are you going to do this? We understand the challenge. But what is an initiative and I may have missed some of the indicators of wealth along the way. But certainly, it has to do with affordable housing, and it has to do with community uplift. So maybe what are you doing? I'll ask you like a pepper of you with 1000 questions? What are you doing? How's it structured? Why is that not CRA? I mean, what is this that you're doing? That's so different and so exciting.

Alice Rodriguez:

So you nailed it. I mean, you nailed it. And, you know, in terms of what all the key drivers are, right, if that wealth divide in this country, and as you know, we have been working on financial health, and trying to really assess whether or not we had all the right products and services for our clients. So that, you know, we could be the bank for all that, you know, we were going to be true to that commitment. So we've been working on this honestly, for several years, probably at least three years. And then know, last summer with all of the, you know, challenges that were happening in our country. And more importantly, as you said, more of the spotlight on the racial, you know, Justice challenges that we were having, it was the right time to really say, you know, we're going to be bold, we're going to put a stake in the ground. And we are going to manage this, just like we manage everything at JPMorgan. And more importantly, we're going to integrate this into the lines of business. So the racial equity commitment is there, the $30 billion to really put a spotlight on all of those initiatives that we believe are going to drive, you know, the US narrowing that gap, to your point about five years, like that's a stake in the ground. And I don't believe that you're going to obviously completely close a gap in five years. But the idea here is to make all the necessary changes so that you're making progress to establish sustainability for the future. So we've taken a look at what are all the fundamental things we would have to work on in order to address this issue. And our four pillars that we're really focused on are affordable housing, as we just mentioned, financial health, Midori small businesses, and our workforce diversity, because we think that all of that together is what's critical to drive the change that we need to drive. When we say that $30 billion, it is mostly about lending, incremental lending to black and Latin x family. Okay. And listen, some people ask us, like, what, why did you call out these two segments, you know, etc, etc. And it's for all the reasons you already said, like that. If you look at 2019, FDIC data, the median net worth for a white household 108,000 for Latino households 36,000 per black household, 24, that's median net worth all the things you already said, right? So we said, therefore, we want to put a stake in the ground and say, we want to lend more to these two segments because of that big chasm that's there. And we want to do it at affordable housing, both on the supply side as well as the demand side. So in other words, we know that having affordable rental units is a means to an end. We want people to the homeownership but before they can even get to homeownership, we got to make sure that they can have affordable rent. So we have $14 billion tied to preserving or adding to the affordable rental units in this country. Then on the support on the demand side, we've got a $12 billion commitment on incremental lending on the home lending side. So a billion of that is for purchase. And 4 billion of that is for refi.

Anita Ward:

I'm sorry, I'll semi so what I find so fascinating about that is, and I'm assuming that there are equity investments as well on the commercial side to help build affordable housing, right. So even with the housing piece, what you're doing differently is you're creating an infrastructure and a platform that's sustainable. So some people may not qualify no matter what you do for the mortgage piece right now, but you can put them into affordable housing where they can gain those skills, figure out the financial literacy skills and coaching and do whatever you need to do to help them then ultimately become eligible for a mortgage. So all of it at least on the housing side, from the supply side, and the demand side fits together into a sustainable model. And as I hear you articulate it, I can't help but think that's a bit of the secret sauce because we're either addressing the supply aside for the demand side, but this is the first time I see somebody intentionally putting together. So kudos for that. I'm assuming that was part of the plan,

Alice Rodriguez:

either at the Alice magic on top of it. So we'll sit and eat. Like it was super intentional. And again, everything that we thought about when we were working on the commitment, it was in a lot of research, and the spirit has always been like the litmus test, right? Is this sustainable or not? Because if it's not possible, we don't want to do it. Right. And this is where this is like business lead. And to me, that's the big, you know, the difference here is that this is not, you know, philanthropic. This is not I mean, we have the philanthropic piece to it. But like we're asking our colleagues and corporate responsibility, you know, here's the bag of money and go do some stuff. I know, we want to be partners with the community, we want to be partners with other corporates, who would be partners in really getting to the root causes here, because if you never get to the root cause, forget, it is not going to state Valley. So yes, that was super intentional. And yes, we've got the investment bank and ball, we have commercial bank involved, we have pretty much all of our lines of businesses really leaning in here.

Anita Ward:

I love that. Did I hear you say small business then too because it goes system? right?

Alice Rodriguez:

Exactly. So the commitment there is $2 billion. And for many of these commitments, where I'm giving you the dollar number, we also have units tied to it. So it's not just the dollars, but it's also units. And then we have a $750 million spending commitment. So from a supplier diversity perspective, right, let's look at your client. Exactly. So that kind of falls under our small business roadmap. And then, you know, we've got a commitment that we made to invest in MDI is because back to your point about like, Look, we know we're not going to be able to accomplish everything on our own. But we have some wonderful minority depository institutions, as well as you know, CDFIs out there that we've been working with for a long time, that do phenomenal work in these communities. So let's invest in them as well, right. So we have part of our commitment,

Anita Ward:

and that unbanked too, so you may not be able to support the unbanked. But through CDF II, we may be able to and through a nonprofit

Alice Rodriguez:

exactly, which then brought us to like our financial health pillar, which was, again, thinking through we serve in a lot of communities today, but we recognize based on research that there's a trust challenge for us. And so in the communities, right, we think about the black community, we think about the Hispanic community, and how can we really leverage partnerships with the nonprofits we've been doing business with for a long time in these communities to help us bridge that trust. And this is where, you know, the idea of community centers came into play, and community managers, that's an entirely new job family for us. And this is someone who is literally in the community, working with all of the different partners to talk about the racial equity commitment, but more importantly, to work together to help people improve their credit scores to help people think about a budget to help people with that knowledge, right. I mean, I think back to like, when I was growing up, like if my mother knew that she could have gotten to a place, right, where she would get all this education and feel comfortable that, you know, maybe some of the outcomes would have been a little bit different. But that is where I see that the financial health pillar is so fundamental right, to getting people prepared for the homeownership for getting those entrepreneurs prepared for, you know, what they need to do to start their business or more importantly, how to continue to grow it. So I think the other thing I just want to mention real quickly, that I thought was really important for the bank is that my team was created to really, you know, do two things. One was to ensure that we were centrally managing the commitment that all of the governance and reporting and transparency was happening in the center around, you know, every element of the commitment. And then the really important piece, I feel like obviously, the governance is extremely important, but there is no, you know, nationalism in place. That's what we like to say on my team nationals on a place right, this commitment is delivered locally, in the local communities. Let's really design a localization framework and strategy so that at a local level, horizontally across all lines of business we're delivering in the community. And as you know, Amina having grown up in more of a community bank before became Chase. That's the part that I love the most. Because it's getting back to the roots, right, getting back to what it means to be part of the community.

Anita Ward:

Yeah, I tease you often that you're, you know, my PhD in anthropology could be yours, because you're really doing ethnographic work. And what you're doing at a local level feeds up into this macro impact. But without the local level, and without the trust at the community level, you can't pull this off. So I think about stepping back and looking at how do you engage all of those, you've got community leaders, activists, social leaders, branch managers, I don't know these guys, we still call them branch managers, but nonprofit organizations and schools and churches in some cases and grocery stores in some cases, I mean, depending upon what community you're in, there's different pain points in different languages and different aspirations. And so as you're wrapping your heads around, what does that look like, for me, it just all comes back to trust. So there was a time Alice, you're gonna crack up, and I think I can say it now because 30 years have passed. But there was a point where we had in Texas commerce bank member banks, and where my job was to go to all the member banks figure out what goes on in their communities. What's happening internally, what products are they doing? Does it make sense, but then with the ulterior motive that we were going to consolidate operations into our LinkedIn because each bank at that point had its own operations. And there was one bank that I went to, and I don't think it was yours, I hope not. But they had operations in sort of an office behind the teller platform, and they had these blinds that, you know, could be closed. And when we decided to do that, we were going to consolidate that particular bank, we're just going to have to close the blinds because our community, we're going to have to lie to them and pretend like Susie, and Anita and Alice are still back there processing checks because they will never trust a New York bank. And at the time, I thought, Oh, that's so ridiculous. But then I put on my anthropology hat. And I think maybe it's kind of the same thing. And I saw an article, I think, at the LA Times about what you're doing with those, you know, community branches and opening them up and having almost like a community center inside. And it reminds me of, you know, my favorite bank in Texas commerce bank in Brownsville, and going there. And I think it was Fridays, there was like lemonade and cookies, and parties and balloons, and people got dressed up. And they came to the bank and meeting with the banker. And it was a social event as much as it was a financial transaction. And for me, that's all about the trust, right? That's anthropology. That's what you're doing. But that just seems so like we're on rewind, in many ways. So what lessons are you taking from those days where you and I figured out? How do you you know, serve lemonade and Brownsville to it really make a difference in that community? Is it a bit the same?

Alice Rodriguez:

Yeah, I mean, it's such a wonderful memory. Anita. And I think that as we are embarking on this, you know, the localization approach is all about that. It's about being culturally relevant, we recognize that we have a lot of great digital products, and many of our customers love the digital aspects of how they can bank today. And we would, it's an addition to that, we still have, you know, people that come into our branches and need our help and really want that knowledge. And in order to build that trust, we have to be culturally relevant. And that means that when people walk into the branch, they should feel like we are part of the community, and not feel at all intimidated about, you know, how they're coming into the bridge. And so, therefore, the artwork, it's like sometimes the little things, right? If you are in East LA, that we have Spanish language, merchandising that people come in, and is VM the needles instead of just like welcome in there. And it really is not rocket science. It is like back to basics. And I'll tell you, you know, we had a phenomenal event in Houston last week, where our local market leadership team, the local management team, you know, all of our resources, right, all the JPMorgan Chase assets on the ground in Houston said, you know, we want to do an event in the Fifth Ward at the deluxe theater because one of the things we recognize is that we got to tell the community what we're doing. We want to have an economic summit that we can talk about the racial equity commitment that can talk about some of the things that we're working on. More importantly, so we can listen. Like what is the Unity saying? It's great that we're out here all saying all these wonderful things, but how is the community receiving this. And I have to tell you, you know, I was blown away, because I wasn't sure, you know, obviously, given our current, you know, environment, we were very careful, by the way, following all our CDC guidelines, etc, etc. But we had about 100 people, we had three different panels that day. And in full disclosure, here, we did have a very special guest on our third panel, Master P, able to join us. And as you know, he's a graduate of University of Houston, he has a lot of great does reach in our use of the market. But the whole point of it was when the community gets together and it doesn't matter if it's Master P, or if it's our local team, or it's the local nonprofit, it was a wonderful opportunity to provide great feedback and knowledge on what we were doing and get the other piece of it, which is what the community that was missing. And what I loved about the various people were leaving and stuff, as I said, You know what, thank you for coming to us, instead of having to go to downtown Houston, or some location, like you came to our neighborhood, and you came to speak to us there. And ultimately, that's the goal is to reach out deeper into the community to have the conversations and not be afraid, like, Look, we're perfect. And we know we're not perfect, and we know that we've opportunities. But we also have lots of partners that are here to help us to really close now start narrowing this divide.

Anita Ward:

And Ellison knows, we talked about it just being the right thing to do. But as you said a little bit earlier, it makes good business sense in so many ways. You're building the funnel, right? And, and I can't help but reflect on the LatinX community because I know you're chairman of the US Hispanic chamber. And we're talking about Houston. And you know, we're talking about Brownsville in Texas. And so I'm thinking, What's that opportunity look like with the, you know, with the LatinX meet with your roots. And I know that there's a huge opportunity, both for the consumer side of the world, but also for uplift, and again, doing the right thing. So maybe you could share some of what that looks like from the Chamber's perspective as well.

Alice Rodriguez:

Yeah, no, definitely, like the latest census came out. And yeah, I think it was about two weeks ago. And one of the things that were not a surprise to me, because obviously, I live this every day in my Chairwoman hat with the USA, etc. but also just, you know, thinking about business was that the country grew 7% from the last census 10 years ago, and of that number 51% of the gross came from Hispanic people of Hispanic descent. And when you look at the demographics in this country, you know, it's just under 20%, it's 90% of the population here for the US. Average ages 30 most common age-old is 11. And if you look at like the next, let's call it 30 years, right, that, like, if you were a business that, you know, just created widgets, and you needed someone to buy your widgets, right, this is an annuity for you, for a long time, right. But you have to be big to this, this population. And one of the things that has been really interesting to me is, you know, just how important Spanish languages you know, culturally, to the segment, the fact that Latinas or starting businesses, six times that of non Latinas and just that really need to ensure that we're also recognizing that this is a very big population that also has challenges as it relates to racial equity. And, you know, we've talked about that, you know, you outlined it so perfectly at the beginning. And, and so, it's both the opportunity, but it's also right, not just the opportunity for the growth, but the opportunity to educate and ensure, you know, when you look at the next I think it was the next 10 years, like people buying houses in this country, seven out of 10, let that sink in, seven out of 10 will be of Hispanic descent. And so you're in the mortgage business, right? If you're in the banking business, right, paying attention to this community is extremely critical. And, you know, one of our competitors has a really good focus on financial health as well. And they recently did a survey This was at a bank of America. And they recently did a survey of Hispanic millennials. And what's interesting in terms of the survey was that 73% of Hispanic millennials said that they were having to help their family not just like their immediate family, but their extended family as a result of everything that was going on with the pandemic that was significantly higher than non-Hispanics, which were at like 53% And you know, just like the number of them, as the survey went on, you know, asking them like, how many of them back to your earlier points had money saved either in savings, at least $1,000 in savings or investment, it was only like 43%. Again, lower than when you saw were non-Hispanic. So there's a great need everywhere, I would say that this is really important to pay attention to just because of the sheer size of growth that this community is going to have here over the next, you know, 20 years.

Anita Ward:

Now, I hear you saying that we really can't make progress unless we address this population. But at the same time, it's such an opportunity, it's almost a no-brainer, like, why wouldn't you figure this out? Why wouldn't you make your products culturally relevant? And why wouldn't you take advantage of a huge population to fill that funnel? So I hope that you know, I know, Chase will lead that effort and will just ignore the competitor along the way, Alice? Yeah. The one thing I really struggle with is there's an AI inclusion that starts with an AI. So I feel accountable in so many ways for inclusion, but how are you driving accountability with the initiative? I know you're talking about embedding it in the lines of business, but you know, how are you measuring success? How are you measuring accountability and through your centralized governance, that you're probably tracking that, but what does that really mean in terms of inclusion? And, you know, and I and I owning it?

Alice Rodriguez:

Yeah, no, we have a lot of rigor around it. And he does. So every month, we're looking at the results, we actually have business reviews, with every single one of the lines of business, we have weekly meetings with all of our racial equity leads in the businesses, we obviously are reporting to senior management on a very frequent basis to our board of directors, you know, very frequently, and we're really holding, you know, the leaders in the business accountable for ensuring that they're making progress around this. And I have been very pleased that all of my colleagues are really lean in, you know, I'll get phone calls from, you know, some people that are within the business that says, I want to do more, you know, maybe I'm in the data and analytics team, but is there anything else you need me to do to help you push this agenda forward? And so I think that I feel very good about the accountability that we're putting in place. And the real key here is that you know, we manage this initiative with the same rigor, right, that we do everything in our businesses, the minute you try to pull it apart somewhere, it just is not going to have the same kind of emphasis. And I think that's a piece that I feel like we've built into our process. It's working most effectively.

Anita Ward:

Ellis somebody a few years ago sent me a book called The second mountain. It's David Brooks. And he talks a lot about how that first mountain that you're overcoming is about you and maybe building your ego and your confidence. And then you go to that second mountain, and it's kind of like shedding those. It's not about ego. It's about purpose. And it's about people not saying that you didn't do that in your first mountain. But in your second mountain, it's a little more selfless in many ways. And I know you've had, maybe you've had three or four of those mountains now. But is this your second mountain? Does this drive your purpose? And is it something that you look at as, gosh, you know, I'm walking arm in arm with the community, this is the opportunity to kind of bring forward all of those pieces from the first mountain into my second.

Yeah, I mean, I think it's a very interesting way to think about it. And I would say, absolutely, I, you know, I've had a great career, I've had wonderful mentors, I've worked for some, you know, just terrific bosses, who taught me a lot. But I recognize right that as I think about my family, and I think about, you know, just the fact that my grandmother didn't read or write, and my mother went to the seventh grade, as I already said, I was the first one to graduate from college. And my youngest daughter, my youngest daughter is a doctor now. And you say, like, how did you break that cycle? And you can break it, it doesn't, you know, really take a lot when you really think about it, right? But when you do it, it could have this like multiplier effect, right? So the way that my children now will go out into the world and so I definitely think that as my purpose right now is to really be courageous and bold, about the things that don't make sense. Like I have no one to impress. For me. It's super personal. Super personal because as inspirational as my mother was to me and the hero that she was, I know also know, she suffered a lot. And it was hard. And you know, I'll never forget. And you know, like, and I'm so glad I did it before she died. But you know, my mother did go back and she got her GED when she was like in her late 50s. And one day, it just kind of hit me. I like I wonder what she did. I mean, you heard we were grown like I was already, like, I didn't get out of high school at the time. And so now, you know, I'm maybe in my late 20s or something. And I asked her, you know, I'm like, why did you do it? She said because I was had I was wanting to work with children. And there was an opening at the headstart. And so she went to apply, and they told her, she had to have a GED or a high school diploma. And she said, Well, I raised four children. And she thought that enough, and they said, No, I'm sorry, our requirement is that you have to have a GED or a high school diploma. And she said, and I was just so tired of doing manual jobs. And think about it, Anita, like, she still had to support herself, because my father was older than her and he had already passed away. And so she said, Now my children are leaving. I mean, it made total sense, right? What she's telling me that, but she was thinking about that. And she struggled but banned that woman did because she was a fighter. And I saw that suffering. And so I know that you know, I stand on the shoulders of people who made lots of sacrifices for me. So I need to get back. Like, that's super important to me. And so whether it's in this capacity or something else in the future, for me, is about sharing my knowledge that I that they've always told me about the bag like does it is rocket science, like, truly, unless you're really gonna go be a rocket scientist, some-

or capital markets, that they're kind of -

Alice Rodriguez:

Exactly

Anita Ward:

I never understand what they're saying. But Alice one time, I was making a presentation to the TCB board. And Herb Kelleher was on there. And I was so excited because do something with herb and I didn't care that President Ford was on, Herb was my icon. And I remember thinking he's gonna say something right, he's gonna ask me a question. And when I was finished talking about all these wonderful things we were doing in communities, and that what we were doing with the banks, I remember him sort of leaning back and said, you know, a native people have to be your purpose. And you really can't do anything for your customers without a focus on your own employees. And that guidance 30 years ago, really set me in motion. And I have to tell yourself, I ask myself all the time, what does purpose look like? And I'm looking at it, I mean, purpose in practice looks like you. And I'm like, I'm so grateful to be a part of this. And I'm so grateful to have you on our podcast today. And I know that there's gonna be a third mountain and a fourth mountain and a fifth mountain. And I just want to be with you on that journey. So I'm leaning in, let me know how we can help too. But thank you so much for today.

Alice Rodriguez:

Thank you, Anita. I really appreciate the opportunity. But more importantly, I appreciate the friendship, and I am so about being on this journey with you and this purpose. So thank you.

Anita Ward:

Thank you so much.

Thanks for joining us for today's episode of working on well-being brought to you by salary finance. I'm Anita award. At salary finance. Our mission is to improve the financial health of working Americans by providing access to socially responsible financial products in the workplace. You can learn more about how you can partner with us to help improve your employee's financial well-being at [SalaryFinance.com](http://salaryfinance.com) Don't forget to subscribe or follow so you don't miss an episode.

Links