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Study: Banks Not Banking on Minority-Owned Businesses

A new study finds California’s largest banks buy few goods and services from minority-owned businesses.
A new study finds California’s largest banks buy few goods and services from minority-owned businesses.
March 3, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - People of color make up 60 percent of the Golden State's population, yet California's largest banks do business with precious few of them when it comes to purchasing goods and services. That's according to a first-of-its-kind study from The Greenlining Institute. It found less than 8 percent of those purchases by banks in 2012 came from businesses owned by African Americans, Latinos, Asians or Native Americans.

According to Bruce Mirken, media relations director at The Greenlining Institute, it's not acceptable when a bank's supplier network fails to reflect the diversity of California.

"It's not really any conscious discrimination," he said. "It is more just an 'Old Boy Network.' They get used to using certain suppliers that they've used for years, which tend to be businesses owned by white men."

Mirken said banks are a key engine of the California economy, purchasing more than $51 billion worth of goods and services in 2012. The study encourages banks and other corporations to make an effort to diversify their supplier network.

Mirken declared that entrepreneurship is key to the American Dream.

"We have this enormous racial wealth gap in this country," he charged. "And if we can encourage businesses in these diverse communities - the entrepreneurial spirit is certainly there - it'll help everybody ultimately; it'll boost our whole economy."

Nationwide, the average amount of business that banks did with minority-owned suppliers was just 6 percent.

Read that report at:

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA