How to move beyond discussions about diversity and inclusion

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It's time to start thinking outside the box about what makes your organization inclusive when it comes to offering financial wellness programs to your employees.

A financial wellness program can provide access to resources that have been systematically denied to people of color. For example, access to credit at traditional financial institutions is not equal across races. Innovative financial wellness programs guarantee affordable credit for your employees of color.

Unequal access to financial institutions has played a significant part in advancing racist policies and ideology. We must do the work to dismantle them. Before 1974, it was legal to deny access to credit based on race. Today, access to credit is crucial in our current financial system. A good credit score and a solid credit history determine a person's ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, buy a home, or even gain employment.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, passed in 1974, made it illegal to deny credit based on race. However, financial institutions have continued to find legal ways to refuse access to people of color.

In 2010, researcher Chi-Jack Lin analyzed credit card data and found that race, isolated from socio-economic status, has a significant effect on an applicant's ability to get a credit card and the terms attached to it. The study demonstrated that racial profiling harmed both.

A 2018 report by the National Fair Housing Alliance, documented racial discrimination while shopping for a car. They found that 75% of the time, white testers were offered more financing options than non-white testers. And, 62.5% of the time, non-white testers who were more qualified than their white counterparts received more costly pricing options.

A 2018 article published by the nonprofit newsroom, Reveal, confirmed that people of color are routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts.

These examples barely scratch the surface of the systemic barriers people of color face when interacting with financial institutions. More needs to be done.

A higher salary or company wide discussions about diversity and inclusion are helpful. Still, they do not solve the problem of lack of access to affordable credit for your employees of color. Actual access does. At HoneyBee, we provide 0% APR loans to all employees, regardless of their credit. No employee is left behind.

Enhance your diversity and inclusion initiatives by acknowledging systemic barriers to financial health and providing solutions. Look for programs that don't rely on creditworthiness to loan funds, and that deliver personalized, actionable financial education.

Your employees are counting on you to drive change in your organization.

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Diversity and equality