JAMIE DIMON: 'Alarm bells'' should be ringing in corporate boardrooms over the challenges facing our communities
- Jamie Dimon is the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- In this op-ed, he writes that corporate boardrooms should be concerned about the grave challenges facing our communities, like growing inequality, the opioid crisis, and rising suicide rates.
- Long-term business success depends on community success - and making this happen requires business leaders to buck short-termism that too often drives the markets.
- Black Americans face a disproportionate opportunity gap when it comes to their careers, and JPMorgan Chase is addressing it with its Advancing Black Pathways initiative that began in early 2019.
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The trend line of human progress is unequivocally to the good, yet we still face serious challenges and deep divisions. People are disconnected from economic growth, and inequality has increased. For the first time in generations, life expectancy in the U.S. has reversed course, fueled by the opioid crisis and rising suicide rates.
These indicators should set alarm bells ringing not just in the halls of government and neighborhood meeting spots. They should be ringing in corporate boardrooms as well. Business cannot succeed in the face of challenges in our communities. On the contrary, long-term business success depends on community success.When everyone has a fair shot at participating in and sharing in the rewards of growth, the economy will be stronger and society more cohesive. Making this happen requires business leaders to buck short-termism that too often drives the markets. Instead, we must take the long view. I've always made clear that the value our firm generates for our shareholders reflects decisions and investments made over years - not quarters - and in consideration of a broad set of factors.
The same holds for creating value for society, which requires thinking and acting on a time horizon of years, not months. By putting our capital and expertise to work to support our people, communities and customers, that's exactly what JPMorgan Chase is doing.
Just as we do in our business, we are analyzing the long-term challenges and trends, bringing the best experts - including many of our talented employees - to the table and using data to develop solutions. We are making significant, multiyear investments, focused where we have the skills and insights to make a real contribution. We are also testing and seeding new approaches - like extending low-cost loans to entrepreneurs or neighborhoods that struggle to access traditional financing on their own - and if those don't work, we learn, adjust and try again.
For example, data shows that black Americans face a disproportionate opportunity gap when it comes to accessing the resources that can help them get on the path to great careers, build wealth, grow a business and participate in the benefits of a growing economy. We recognize that our firm is uniquely positioned to marshal our resources, expertise and core business to help put economic opportunity in reach for more black Americans.
So, in early 2019, we launched Advancing Black Pathways, which builds on and accelerates our existing efforts to help black people chart stronger paths to economic success. Through the initiative, we are leveraging our firm's unrivaled insights into the financial lives of Americans to strengthen the financial wellness of black families, expand access to capital for black-owned small businesses and support black homeownership. We are increasing access to better educational and training opportunities for black students, including committing to hire more than 4,000 black students over the next five years into apprenticeships, internships and post-graduation roles. And we are expanding on our long-standing efforts to recruit, develop and promote black talent within our firm.This initiative reflects JPMorgan Chase's approach to supporting our people, communities and customers: We bring the full force of our firm. Our nation‑wide market expansion effort, through which we are opening 400 new Chase branches, offers another prime example. The new branches will enable us to better serve our customers, offer more good jobs and deliver on expanded lending and philanthropic commitments in our communities. We will add as many as 3,000 new jobs across the country, while we have raised wages for our U.S. hourly employees, many of whom work in our branches.
All of our efforts are grounded in the belief that the road to prosperity is paved with shared success. Across these efforts, we have seen that a long-term, strategic approach - combined with the right partners and informed by good data - yields real results.
We know business alone cannot solve today's biggest challenges, but we believe firmly we must step up and work with government and community leaders to offer solutions. The private sector has tremendous capacity to expand opportunity for those who need it most, and it's a role and responsibility we should embrace. When we play the opportunity long game, we all win.
Jamie Dimon is Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.