What credit unions can learn from Wells Fargo’s ‘Black talent’ gaffe

A recent misstep by Wells Fargo is a warning shot to credit unions about the importance of diversifying their employees and board members.

The financial services industry has long recognized the importance of diversity when recruiting and retaining employees, managers and directors, but many institutions have struggled to turn these intentions into concrete results. There are roughly just 170 Black credit union CEOs out of nearly 5,200 institutions.

The death of George Floyd in police custody earlier this year has spurred a national conversation about racial inequality, and companies are now considering ways to better diversify their leadership ranks and address this issue. Experts warn that employers who fail to deftly address diversity, equity and inclusion could alienate consumers and hurt an institution’s reputation.

“We all have to do a better job of showing up in different communities,” said Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, chief diversity officer at LAFCU in Lansing, Mich. “We aren’t advertising in the right places. We need to cast a wider net. We need to get out there.”


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