Economic inequality is pervasive inside and outside of companies. Some CEOs, like
Bank of America’s
, have made efforts to bridge that gap.
Moynihan, who chairs the World Economic Forum International Business Council, has been an outspoken advocate for stakeholder capitalism, publicly encouraging sustainable practices, urging other CEOs to prioritize the welfare of employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, and pledging $1 billion to confront racial and economic inequality.
The Bank of America CEO joined a recent Barron’s conference, The Wealth Gap: A Global Perspective, to discuss the company’s pledge to help local communities and the need for banks to address economic and racial inequality.
Our conversation below has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Barron’s:Brian, sorry to point out the obvious, but you are a Caucasian man, a one-percenter. What got you interested in this topic?
Moynihan: [Diversity and inclusion] became an early-on interest. It comes from the basic principle that, especially in banks, we are companies that are creatures of our communities. Helping people succeed in that community is critical, so it’s sort of endemic to the way you do business. We believe strongly that you could produce returns for your shareholders and produce good for society.
Let’s talk about the $1 billion initiative from BofA to help local communities address economic and racial inequality. Is that philanthropy or a business opportunity?
We in the company have been looking at this question of how to help communities, how to have economic opportunity and economic mobility. We were working on [solutions] in Charlotte with a group of CEOs. Inside our company, [peoplehave] been working with our Hispanic leadership group and our Black African American leadership group on the idea, “How can we help more on economic mobility?”
Then you had the racial justice and