On August 2, 2016, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency made available a five-page Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document to accompany an interagency policy statement issued by these agencies and others in the summer of 2015. 

Background

On June 10, 2015, in response to the requirements of section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a Final Interagency Policy Statement Establishing Joint Standards for Assessing the Diversity Policies and Practices of Entities Regulated by the Agencies.

The policy standards set forth therein established a framework for conducting annual self-assessments of diversity and inclusion efforts that specifically focus on the following:

  • organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion;
  • workforce profiles and employment practices;
  • procurement and business practices related to supplier diversity; and
  • practices to promote transparency of diversity and inclusion efforts

Also included in the policy standards are best practices and examples of what employers can do to advance diversity and inclusion efforts. Some of these examples include:

  • conducting regular diversity and inclusion training;
  • appointing senior-level officers to direct diversity and inclusion efforts; and
  • participating in conferences, workshops, and events that attract and serve diverse populations and communities.

Key Takeaways

Although the policy statement focuses primarily on regulated entities with more than 100 employees, and the statement defines “diversity” as minorities and women, the FAQs encourage smaller regulated entities to use the joint standards to organize and assess diversity efforts. The FAQs also maintain that the policy statement does not preclude an entity from using a broader definition of diversity. In fact, according the FAQs, the language selected for use in the statement is intended to be “sufficiently flexible to encompass other groups if an entity [chooses] to define ‘diversity’ more broadly.”