Black bank workers are fighting progressive Democrats' demands that President-elect Joe Biden's administration exclude anyone with corporate ties.
The heads of the National Bankers Association, the National Association of Securities Professionals, and the Association of African American Financial Consultant, and several other groups have signed a letter arguing that dismissing financial industry executives would unfairly affect minority candidates for top jobs in the next government.
"All of these leadership positions play a critical role in developing economic policy in an administration and implementing goals, strategies and practices that affect all Americans," the groups wrote in a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday. "Unless you intend to use inclusion as a strategy to manage the intersecting dynamics of race, economy, inequality and power, we are not going to approach these issues with the best possible heads."
Although Biden has not yet announced any ethical rules for staff, he has banned lobbyists with a few exceptions. Progressive Democrats have made several demands in return for their support for Biden, who believes he is moderate. These demands include that the von Biden government not hand over jobs to lobbyists.
Cameron French, a spokesman for the Biden transition team, told Bloomberg that Biden's administration will be diverse, representing voices from different backgrounds, cultures and races.
"President-elect Biden will build a diverse government that looks like America, starting with the first woman of South Asian descent and the first black woman to serve as elected vice president," French said. "As with the transition campaign, Joe Biden will intentionally find diverse voices to develop and implement his political vision to address our nation's most difficult challenges."
So far, the Biden teams have been as diverse as he promised. People with color put on make-up 46% of current employees. Forty-one percent of Biden's senior executives are black people and 53 percent are women. The majority of Biden transition workers, 52%, are women.
In addition, Biden has recruited several systemic racism experts for his business posts, including Mehrsa Baradaran, a reparations expert who has worked with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on measures to address racial prosperity gaps.
The groups believe hiring black banking executives with Wall Street experience will bring a different perspective to the room. Biden has selected several black Americans for his financial experience employees, including Don Graves, a former KeyBank executive who leads the transition team that will oversee the finance department.
The groups also pointed out that a black man or woman was never tapped as head of the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Currency Auditor, or the White House council Economic advisor.
"A review of those who served in major economic policy positions in our country's history reveals an astonishing and utter lack of racial and ethnic diversity," the letter said.
The letter was also signed by several civil rights groups advocating for Latino Americans who want Biden's team to interview three or more color candidates for the key roles above.