A Mastercard SVP shares how the company's recent $500 million commitment is helping to close the racial wealth gap in the US
- Mastercard announced Thursday that it will commit $500 million to help close the racial wealth gap in the US.
- Marla Blow, senior vice president of social impact for Mastercard, said Black Americans have been left behind in the financial system.
- The median white family had more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family in 2016, the Fed's 2017 "Survey of Consumer Finances" found.
- The company will work with several cities across the country including Atlanta, Birmingham, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and St. Louis to expand digital financial products.
- They will also donate money to people facing evictions, as well as small businesses facing bankruptcy due to the pandemic.
Mastercard is committing $500 million to help close the racial wealth gap and promote financial inclusion among Black people.
The investment will be dispersed over the next five years and will help underserved Black Americans access financial tools and support.
Marla Blow, senior vice president of social impact for Mastercard, told Business Insider that protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd brought added urgency to the firm's work toward racial justice.
"As a corporate leader, a Black woman and a former small business owner, I see very clearly the opportunity gaps that face Black communities. People are being left out and left behind," she said.
Indeed, Black Americans face massive inequality when it comes to wealth accumulation and access to financial services, fueled by decades of racist policies.
The median white family had more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family in 2016, the Fed's 2017 "Survey of Consumer Finances" found. Nearly half of Black households are unbanked or underbanked, according to a 2017 government survey.
While certainly not an end-all solution to systemic inequality, Mastercard's investment seeks to help thousands of families and small businesses access capital.
The company will work with several cities across the country to expand digital financial products, like easy-to-use banking tools to help Black Americans avoid predatory payday banking services. It will also donate money to help people avoid evictions and help Black-owned businesses hit by the pandemic.
Over the last five years, Mastercard has brought 500 million unbanked individuals into the global financial system. Following this success, Mastercard has increased its goal to connect one billion people by 2025.
"We want to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap," Blow said. "Given our role in bringing people together through technology, we believe we have a real opportunity to help address a financial system that has systemically disadvantaged and excluded Black communities."