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A new GAO report released this week has found that representation of African-Americans at various management levels decreased while the representation of other minorities increased.

From 2007 through 2015, the proportion of African-American in management positions decreased from 6.5 percent to 6.3 percent.

Representation of minorities at the overall management level increased by 3.7 percentage points and representation of minorities among senior-level managers increased by 1.7 percentage points during the same period, the report said.

Overall representation of women was unchanged from 2007 through 2015. Representation of women among first- and mid-level managers remained around 48 percent and senior-level managers remained about 29 percent during this period.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled “Financial Services Industry: Trends in Management Representation of Minorities and Women and Diversity Practices, 2007-2015,”  is an update to an April 2013 report,  requested by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“It is important that we improve the racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the financial services industry workforce,” said CongresswomanWaters.

Waters noted that despite the increasingly diverse racial and ethnic demographic makeup of the American population “the report very troublingly shows that representation of African Americans actually decreased at various management levels.” she said. Diverse representation in the management of these institutions is essential in order to ensure that all consumers have fair access to credit, capital, and banking and financial services.””

Senator Brown found it “troubling” the GAO found only a modest improvement in the representation of minorities in management positions in the financial services industry from 2007 through 2015.

Congressman Green stressed the importance of improving diversity in senior-level positions.

“Although I am heartened to see that overall representation of women and minorities in the financial services industry has increased, I am deeply concerned that representation of African-Americans at various management levels has decreased,” said Green.

“It is critical to ensure all communities are well-served. American prosperity succeeds when everyone has access to financial services tools and are able to fully participate in the economy,” he said.

To continue to meet the challenge of improving workforce diversity, Congressman Green said he strongly supports making firm-level diversity data publicly available.

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