SUMMARY: In September 2022, a “powerful alliance of trade groups” filed a lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) anti-discrimination enforcement practices, with lead plaintiff the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accusing the Bureau of “‘an ideological agenda.’” The lawsuit’s co-plaintiffs include other industry groups like the American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, the Texas Bankers Association, the Texas Association Of Business, and the Longview Chamber of Commerce.

Consumer advocate group, the National Consumer Law Center, fired back at the lawsuit, calling the industry lawsuit “outrageous” and noting that consumers of color “‘have long faced discrimination’” in financial services and calling the banking industry’s antiracist statements “meaningless” in light of the lawsuit against the CFPB. 

An Accountable.US review of the banking industry groups behind the lawsuit has found that banks represented on their boards of directors have faced a wide array of controversies over discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability over the past decade. This includes at least $961,908,000 in fines or settlements with regulators, consumer advocacy groups, and individuals harmed by these banks’ conduct.

Notably, many of these banks have made hypocritical statements in support of racial justice and fighting discrimination including:

Wells Fargo, whose EVP and Regional Bank Executive Michelle Lee is a board member and the immediate past Chair of the Consumer Bankers Association:

  • RHETORIC: Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has said “‘Black Lives Matter,’” stated that discrimination “‘must not continue,’” and that the rise in violent acts and xenophobia toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders “‘is unacceptable.’” 
  • REALITY: The bank reached a $234 million Justice Department settlement in 2012 for discriminating against thousands of Black and Latinx mortgage borrowers and a $10 million settlement with the city of Philadelphia in 2019 for reverse redlining. 

Bank of America, whose head of Community Banking and Consumer Governance Christine Channels is on the CBA board of directors:

JPMorgan Chase, which has executives on the boards of the American Bankers Association and the Consumer Bankers Association:

Capital One, whose President of Retail Banking Celia Karam is on the CBA board of directors:

Citi, whose CEO of U.S. Personal Banking Gonzalo Luchetti is on the CBA board of directors:

U.S. Bank, whose Vice Chair of Consumer & Business Banking Tim Welsh is on the CBA board of directors:

  • RHETORIC: The bank claims it does “not tolerate harassment or discrimination,” and its Chief Diversity Officer said “we will not let up” when it comes to addressing racial disparities.
  • REALITY: The bank faced a lawsuit from a former auto loan underwriter who alleged a “‘racist environment’” in 2019, a federal complaint in 2014 about the bank allowing foreclosed properties to become blighted in Black neighborhoods, and a confidential settlement in 2021 with a Black customer alleging racial discrimination.

Goldman Sachs, whose Consumer Chief Risk Officer and head of Business Operations Brian King is on the CBA board of directors:

PNC Financial Services, whose Executive Vice President Todd Barnhart is on the CBA board of directors:

Washington Federal Bank (WaFD), whose President and CEO Brent Beardall is currently serving a three-year term on the American Bankers Association (ABA) board of directors

Synchrony Bank, whose SVP and head of Consumer Banking Samantha Melting is on the CBA board of directors:

Fifth Third Bank, whose head of Consumer Banking Howard Hammond is on the CBA board of directors:

Keycorp, which is represented on CBA’s board by its Head of Consumer Banking:


Read Accountable.US’ full report here.

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