When Andrew and I founded our company, we set out our core values as a way to ensure we could do right by our customers, our employees, and our community. Now, when we look at these values of caring, collaboration, integrity, and striving to get better every day, and match them against the issues facing our country, we feel the need to speak out and to take action to be a voice of change.
Until this year, race was too often a taboo subject — usually deemed too political or too personal to be addressed by corporate America. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has played out against the backdrop of marches for social justice and equality in our country, we are seeing Black Americans disproportionately affected not only by the economic barriers we already recognize, but by a higher death rate from COVID-19 as well.
This disparity and inequality is not only in the financial and economic sector, but at the core of our society — this is why we believe that Freedom Financial Network must now step up as an agent of change. Since our founding, we have been committed to creating change by helping everyday Americans of all races and backgrounds get on a path to a brighter financial future. But now is a time to do more. To invest more. To support more. To be the part of the change that will allow equality to shine for everyone, especially Black Americans.
The Fintech Racial Equality Coalition
Now is a time for action, not words. That is why we signed on to support the Fintech Equality Coalition initiated by Betterment and supported by other industry leaders like SoFi, Credit Karma, Earnest, and Freedom Financial Network. This coalition will function as a working group to actively fight inequality within the fintech industry and in society, as well. As part of the coalition, we will work to enhance access to the financial services provided by each company, and increase efforts to support career advancement for the Black community. The coalition believes that as leaders, we can and must do more to support efforts to bring true equality to every part of our work and our lives.
Because we are devoted to action, not just more discussion, the coalition recognizes the following problems, and promises to enact the necessary changes and solutions to address them:
- Because the Black community is underserved by financial services, we will find opportunities in the form of partnerships, education, and outreach to make sure the value provided by our products and services is accessible.
- Because there are Black voices and issues in our industry that should be, but are not currently, amplified, we will host, sponsor, and participate in forums and events that feature Black speakers, as well as address financial topics specific to the Black community. In addition, we will avoid participation in forums or events without a slate of diverse speakers.
- Because Black employees and Black-owned businesses are underrepresented in the tech community, including at many of our companies, we will improve our recruiting outreach across departments and seniority levels, enhance professional development programs, and augment interviewing practices to mitigate unconscious bias throughout candidate assessment. When hiring new vendors, we will engage and consider Black owned businesses.
- Because the Black community is underrepresented in leadership roles, including at many of the coalition companies, we will enhance programs already in place to ensure we are recruiting, retaining, mentoring, and growing Black team members. We will focus on including underrepresented groups at the level of Director and above, where so much work remains to be done.
Because these promises are meaningless without accountability, we will each publish our individual plans and provide regular milestones marking our progress toward these commitments.
Freedom Financial Network’s Promise
Within Freedom, we are on a journey to become not just inclusive, but anti-racist, creating an organization that is more diverse and equitable — a place where everyone can do the best work of their lives.
To learn more about the Fintech Racial Equality Coalition, and to read the full statement signed by the companies of the coalition, please visit www.fintechequality.com