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Jeb Hensarling, TX, Chairman
Maxine Waters, CA, Ranking Member
United States House of Representatives
Committee on Financial Services
Washington, D.C. 20515
March 24, 2014
Inspector General Mark Bialek
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Office of Inspector General
20th and C Streets N.W.
Mail Stop 300
Washington, D.C. 20551
Dear Inspector General Bialek:
We write to request that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRS) review the agency’s internal operations to determine whether any personnel practices have created a discriminatory workplace or otherwise systematically disadvantaged minorities from obtaining senior management positions.
Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at most of the federal financial regulatory agencies, responsible for matters relating to diversity in management, employment, and business activities. Despite this statutory mandate, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a report released last year that management-level representation of minorities and women among federal financial agencies and Federal Reserve Banks has not changed substantially from 2007 through 2011. In fact, across all federal financial regulators, agency representation of minorities was as low as 6 percent and dropped as low as zero percent at one of the Reserve Banks, In light of these findings and the concerns raised by employee performance evaluations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), we believe the OIG should work in cooperation with Federal Reserve System’s OMWI Director to assess current personnel practices and make recommendations necessary to ensure full compliance with the law.
The 2013 GAO report, entitled “Trends and Practices in the Financial Industry and Agencies after the Recent Financial Crisis,” documented the extremely poor representation of women and minorities in leadership positions within the financial services industry and among federal financial regulators. According to GAO, industry representation of minorities in 2011 was higher in lower-level management positions — approximately 20 percent — as compared to about 11 percent of senior-level manager positions.
While public attention is currently and justifiably focused on the CFPB, the most recent OMWI reports suggest the disparities impeding internal upward mobility for minorities may be endemic throughout all the agencies regulating the financial services industry. According to the Treasury Department’s 2013 OMWI report, among its senior executive management, 86 percent are white men, compared to 7 percent Black men, 4 percent Hispanic men, and 3 percent Asian men. Among the agency’s GS-15 employees, which serves as a pipeline to senior level management, white men are once again overrepresented at 86 percent, compared to 6 percent Black men, 2 percent Hispanic men, and 6 percent Asian men.
At the Federal Reserve, white men represent 50 percent of executive senior level managers, compared to just 28.7 percent represented by white women. Along ethnic categories, black and Hispanic men represent, respectively, roughly 5 percent and 1 percent of executive senior level managers. Black women represent roughly 6 percent and Hispanic women represent nearly 2 percent of senior managers.
According to the most recent information from the GAO, at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), whites represent 88 percent of senior level management positions, compared to 4 percent represented by blacks and 4 percent by Hispanics. At the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), whites represent 82 percent of senior level managers, compared to 9 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic. Whites represent 89 percent of senior level management positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission, compared to 2 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic. Minorities appear to fair best at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, where whites represent 76 percent of senior level management positions, compared to 16 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic. However, more comprehensive analysis is still needed from the agency to fully assess the racial and gender employment of minorities in senior positions beyond the GAO’s limited information.
Accordingly, we request that the OIG examine any employee complaints, formal or informal, related to personnel practices, workplace policies and the findings from any employee satisfaction surveys, whether conducted by the Federal Reserve System or an outside entity. If the OIG identifies any individuals or groups of individuals who have exhibited discriminatory behaviors or patterns of unfair or unequal treatment, we ask that the OIG provide recommendations about appropriate actions, including remedial training or removal from employment with the agency. Furthermore, we request that the OIG assess the agency’s OMWI operations, and ensure corrective actions are taken within the agency with regard to employee compensation, rating systems, retention, and promotion of women and minorities.
Maxine Waters /signed/
Al Green /signed/
Carolyn B. Maloney /signed/
Emanuel Cleaver /signed/
Kyrsten Sinema /signed/
Joyce Beatty /signed/
Denny Heck /signed/
John Delaney /signed/
Ed Perlmutter /signed/