The other day, I logged on to a Chase website and saw a message from CEO Jamie Dimon condemning racism. It seemed a little strange at the time until the back story emerged.
The New York Times ran a troubling piece on the culture at Chase operations in my home state of Arizona. The story featured a former National Football League player, Jimmy Kennedy, Chase employees and recorded conversations.
At first, Kennedy was getting the runaround in attempting to get an investment status that would come with perks on loans and other services.
One passage- “’You’re bigger than the average person, period. And you’re also an African-American,” the employee, Charles Belton, who is black, told Mr. Kennedy. “We’re in Arizona. I don’t have to tell you about what the demographics are in Arizona. They don’t see people like you a lot.” Mr. Kennedy recorded the conversation and shared it with The New York Times.”‘
A JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman defended many of Chase’s actions but a story published in Chase’s hometown could not be ignored.
To his credit, Dimon did not sugarcoat the issue, although he did not make any direct reference to the Times story.
“We will use this moment as an opportunity to do better — as leaders, as employees, and as human beings,” Dimon wrote.
You can read his statement here.
It is no surprise that the issue emerged at JPMorgan Chase. The massive global organization and the largest for-profit employer in Delaware can’t help but be a reflection of society at large.
Chase has work to do. We all do. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.