Banking is a critical part of building communities and economies where we live and work. But the uncomfortable truth is that banks historically played a crucial role in furthering and enforcing the racist structures that systemically disadvantaged people of color for decades. That means that banks have a critical responsibility and have the power to help build a path forward to make a lasting change in banking.
The community reaction to George Floyd’s killing has forced an overdue reckoning on racism in America. The graphic pain of recent events has made it clear that we must acknowledge and talk about the racial discrimination endemic in our country’s culture and history. As a business leader, and particularly as a leader in financial services, I believe I have a responsibility to commit to real change. To do our part, Bremer developed an action plan focusing on two specific areas to drive change: banking practices and internal processes, which include talent and training.
Bremer will establish a greater presence in underserved areas, starting with a particular focus in the Twin Cities. Already, our organization is investing in a bigger, better, state-of-the-art location in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood. In doing so, we will work to actively recruit BIPOC bankers and financial service professionals with expertise, to especially help small businesses and their owners with banking services to meet the needs of BIPOC-owned businesses. Our expansion efforts are keenly focused on serving BIPOC-owned small businesses, with presence in the heart of small business corridors dramatically impacted by the social unrest following George Floyd’s murder.