In this podcast episode we cover diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Consumer Financial Services industry. Dee Spagnuolo, a partner in Ballard Spahr’s White Collar Group moderates the discussion, joined by Brian Pedrow, a partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Group. Dee and Brian are co-leaders of the firm’s DEI Counseling Team. Also joining the conversation is special guest Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, American Bankers Association.

The group first discusses the multiple benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for financial institutions, the challenges and opportunities institutions face in implementing a DEI strategy, and how DEI applies beyond an institution’s workforce. We then consider the risk of discrimination claims arising from DEI programs and the role of legal counsel in the development and implementation of DEI strategies. We also discuss diversity self-assessments and the role of Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion and the potential impact on DEI programs of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the higher education affirmative action programs at issue in the cases pending before it are unlawful. We conclude by looking at the characteristics of a successful DEI program.