B anks like JPMorgan Chase are recognizing the pivotal role they play in addressing some of today’s biggest social challenges. They know it’s good for business, and the right thing to do for customers, clients, employees and communities they serve. But they can’t do it alone: Demetrios Marantis, the firm’s global head of corporate responsibility, explains that meaningful change requires close collaboration with community partners and government leaders—and an unwavering commitment to break down the barriers that have affected communities for far too long.
What do you see as the private sector’s role in building a more equitable and sustainable world?
At JPMorgan Chase, there’s an innate understanding that as a business, our long-term success hinges on the well-being of the communities we serve. But we also recognize that we can’t solve global challenges alone—we have to work with others to help grow the economy, close the racial wealth gap, and address climate change. That’s why we’re working closely with nonprofits, community partners, and government leaders to advance these efforts.
After my time working in government, what drew me to JPMorgan Chase is the firm’s track record for supporting sustainable and inclusive growth. This shows up in how we do business every day, such as our 10-year, $2.5 trillion Sustainable Development Target, as well as our $30 billion racial equity commitment. In addition, we are supporting the ongoing need to provide energy security—especially during the ongoing war in Ukraine—and helping clients transition to a low-carbon economy and develop renewable energy facilities such as wind and solar farms.
JPMorgan Chase has been a strong advocate for giving people with criminal backgrounds a second chance at employment. Why is this a priority, and what’s the firm doing to promote second-chance employment opportunities?
It’s important to put this problem into perspective: One in three working-age Americans have some type of arrest or criminal record. That’s more than 70 million people who may be willing and ready to work but are having trouble securing good employment opportunities despite the millions of vacant jobs across the country. But it’s not only the size and scale of the issue—there’s the human component, too. A person’s past shouldn’t define them. Right now, our system doesn’t give people the chance to change and get back on their feet.
The firm’s commitment starts at the very top with our CEO, Jamie Dimon, who has relentlessly advocated for policies like “banning the box” on job applications (the policy eliminates the checkbox that requires applicants to disclose criminal records). Our Second Chance hiring program also provides legal services, job support, and mentorship to people with criminal backgrounds in cities like Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Wilmington, Delaware; and Phoenix, Arizona. These are some of the steps that helped us hire more than 4,300 people with arrest or conviction records in 2021.
To make things right, businesses, community leaders, and policy makers must work together. As one of the founding members of the Second Chance Business Coalition, we’re working with more than 40 major companies to expand second-chance hiring and advancement. But systemic change requires better public policy, which is why we’re supporting federal and state Clean Slate legislation to automatically clear or seal eligible criminal records for those who’ve fulfilled their obligations to the justice system.
In 2020, JPMorgan Chase made a $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity. Can you talk about how this commitment was developed and the progress you’ve made?
Needless to say, 2020 was a wake-up call. For one thing, our country had to face the long-known realities of systemic racism that plague Black, Hispanic, and Latino communities. As a financial institution, we know we have a role to play in helping to break down the structural barriers that have perpetuated these profound inequities.
Since announcing our commitment in 2020, we’ve identified key areas where our products and processes can help make an impact. This includes increasing homeownership and expanding affordable rental housing, helping small businesses grow, and improving access to critical services, information, and resources that promote financial health. We’re also being more intentional in our operations, whether it’s supporting greater diversity and inclusivity in our workforce or increasing our spend with more Black, Hispanic, and Latino suppliers.
Our goal is to instill sustainable changes to the way we do business and make banking work better for more people in these communities. This $30 billion commitment is driven by specific lending and business commitments, investments in communities where we do business, and advancements in policies that help close the racial wealth gap.
We know accountability is key. That’s why we’ve established a robust reporting and governance system for tracking and sharing our progress. By the end of 2021, we committed or deployed more than $18 billion toward our $30 billion goal, largely driven by affordable rental housing preservation and homeownership refinance.
This is just the beginning. We have more work to do.
Advancing racial equity and promoting a sustainable economy isn’t going to happen overnight. Can you talk about some of the lessons you’ve learned and how the firm is applying them to future commitments?
We don’t have all the answers, but we do have years of experience advancing a more inclusive and sustainable society. It’s allowed us to develop and refine processes to face systemic challenges as they continue to evolve—mobilizing our business, policy, and philanthropic expertise. We also recognize that there’s strength in numbers, which is why we’re taking a coordinated and collaborative approach alongside community leaders, policy makers, and other businesses to drive meaningful change.
Looking ahead, we’re taking what we’ve learned to meet more global challenges and business opportunities in markets outside of the United States. We’re also applying these learnings as we continue to address energy security and advance the transition to a lower-carbon, more sustainable economy—whether it’s minimizing our environmental footprint, helping carbon-intensive industries strategically decarbonize, or scaling green initiatives. This isn’t an easy feat, but we’ll continue to work toward a more equitable and sustainable world in the months and years to come.
Global Head of Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan Chase
Demetrios Marantis joined JPMorgan Chase in September 2021 and oversees the firm’s Global Corporate Responsibility department which advances an inclusive economy and ensures strong, durable financial systems around the world.
Marantis joined JPMorgan Chase from Visa, where he served as Senior Vice President of Global Government Engagement from 2015 to 2021 leading their global public policy and government relations team. He led the creation of the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute and played a leading role in the Visa Foundation’s $200 million commitment to empower the post-COVID economic recovery of women owned small and micro businesses. Before Visa, Marantis led Square’s global policy, government, and regulatory affairs.
In the public sector, Marantis served as Acting United States Trade Representative and Deputy United States Trade Representative. Nominated for the position by President Barack Obama, he was responsible for U.S. trade policy throughout Asia and Africa, led negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership, and negotiated the first regional trade agreement to reduce trade barriers on environmental goods. He also was Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee.
Marantis holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his husband.
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