Fifth Third Bank this week announced a $2.8 billion commitment to promote racial equity, equality and inclusion in the U.S.
The $202 billion-asset lender said the initiative includes $2.2 billion in lending, $500 million in investments, $60 million in financial accessibility and $40 million in philanthropy aimed at assisting Black Americans.
The bank joins a growing group of financial institutions that have pledged funds aimed at assisting low-income communities and people of color since the May killing of George Floyd sparked widespread civil unrest and calls for racial equality in the U.S.
Fifth Third's three-year pledge focuses on employees, customers and communities, with each vertical aimed at accelerating the bank's progress toward an equitable environment for Black Americans, the bank said.
"As we continue to make meaningful strides in advancing inclusion and diversity in our industry and in our communities, Fifth Third is committed to maintaining and extending its leadership and making a difference for our Black customers, communities and employees," the bank's chairman and CEO, Greg Carmichael, said in a statement. "The dedicated investment, philanthropy and lending efforts will help accelerate our progress toward promoting equality, equity and inclusion, both within the Bank and in our communities."
The initiative features neighborhood revitalization investments in communities of color, as well as expansion of access to home loans and business capital.
The bank plans to increase its mortgage lending by 31% with a focus on achieving parity in its top eight markets where Black Americans reside, and is targeting a 25% increase in small-business lending in majority-minority communities.
Fifth Third said it also plans to build 25% of its new branches in majority-minority tracts and low- and moderate-income communities.
“Through these efforts, Fifth Third will provide wider access to business and consumer loans, expand accessible tools for financial education and develop innovative banking solutions for the unbanked and underbanked,” the bank said.
The initiative also includes commitments to social justice and advocacy through investments and partnerships with organizations that the bank said “support laws and policies that address systemic racism, create improvements in worker re-entry and improve economic mobility and skill-based training, which will provide for greater access to jobs and skills for low-wage workers through workforce development programs.”
Fifth Third said it has already committed $1 million to the National Urban League for a workforce development program that focuses on growing business acumen.
Other lenders that have made similar pledges to combat racial inequality this year include PNC, which committed more than $1 billion in June toward community development financing and capital for neighborhood revitalization and small businesses to fight systemic racism.
Also in June, Bank of America said it would donate $1 billion over four years to help communities address economic and racial inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, while U.S. Bank pledged to boost loans to Black-owned businesses by $100 million and establish a $15 million fund to award community grants to organizations dedicated to addressing economic and racial inequality.
Huntington Bank in September pledged $20 billion over the next five years to improve economic opportunities — particularly in low-income communities and for people of color — across its seven-state footprint in the Midwest.
JPMorgan Chase in October said it would contribute $30 billion in an effort to close the racial wealth gap through a combination of loans, investments and philanthropy made to Black and Latinx communities.