VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

Overview Chandler Owdom

VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

As a part of our 2019-2021 VBA Strategic Plan, the VBA created the goal of developing recommendations for how VBA can assist members in building a more diverse future leadership. The below efforts are a summary of the initiatives we have since started in this space, as well as resources for banks as they begin or further their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and efforts at their own organizations.

This list highlights important initiatives and resources but is not comprehensive of VBA efforts in the DEI space.

ABA/VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summits

VBA and the American Bankers Association partnered to launch our first-ever virtual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit for bankers on November 6, 2020, and held a second Summit on May 20, 2021. These events were an important part of continuing a meaningful dialogue on fostering positive change in the industry. The value-packed programs helped bankers cultivate a network of peers to share DEI leading practices and explore new opportunities and initiatives for their own institutions. The goal of these events was to equip bankers from all over the country with tools to mitigate systemic biases and foster greater inclusion for those disadvantaged by age, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender or other identity factors.

  • More than 275 people attended the 2020 Summit.
  • Four hundred people attended the 2021 Summit

Nearly 700 bankers across the country have participated in these programs. Our next Summit will be held September 15, 2022 virtually. Save the date!

2020 ABA/VBA DEI Summit Event Recap

2021 ABA/VBA DEI Summit Event Recap

VBA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

The VBA created a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council in 2019 to help guide the creation of DEI initiatives and programming for member banks. The Council, made up of 26 members, is a key driver of our DEI efforts. Since 2019, the Council has met seven times and will continue to meet and be a sounding board for the VBA as we work to support our member banks in their DEI efforts.

Women in Banking Initiatives

The VBA piloted the Women’s Mentorship Program in 2020, a turn-key experience for banks that want to provide senior level employees the opportunity to mentor high-potential women in their own banks. Fourteen mentor/mentee pairs from nine banks benefited from one-on-one interaction and discussion combined with training and networking opportunities.

VBA Women’s Mentorship Pilot Program Recap

 We are now in the second official year of our Women’s Mentorship Program, a 10-month program for mentor-mentee duos from the same bank, where the VBA provides wrap-around educational opportunities and guidance for the one-on-one mentor/mentee meetings.  It also provides connection and network-building opportunities for the participants.  More background on the program can be found here

Additionally, the VBA has continued to actively engage our Executive Women in Banking Peer Group. This is a group comprised of SVP and higher level women in the industry.  They meet quarterly as a group to share ideas and challenges and to create programming to help promote women. 

The group also helped create a new communication for this demographic. In March 2021, in conjunction with Women’s History Month, the VBA developed and distributed a new e-newsletter, ELEVATE, a quarterly publication for women in banking and those who support them. Sign up for ELEVATE here. Access the latest issue and links to previous issues here (under the ELEVATE dropdown). 

Our Women in Banking Conference will take place in December. We have been hosting a Women in Banking Conference for ten years, which brings together more than 100 women for a day of motivation, engagement and learning. 

Recruitment Solution Through BankTalentHQ

VBA’s new career center partnership with BankTalentHQ includes access to America’s Job Exchange (AJE) to make connecting even easier for your bank. Additionally, BankTalentHQ is excited to announce their latest partnership with Circa. The joining of these two great companies brings accelerated growth and expanded services for you. BankTalentHQ is committed to putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront of the recruiting process. Circa provides niche diversity sites and community-based recruiting to reach the candidates you need to succeed.

Cultivating a diverse candidate pool requires a diversity recruitment strategy. To develop a workforce rich in diversity, you should consider the quality and demographic sourcing of your candidates. Are you just posting a job on websites and hoping for the best? Is your current diversity recruitment activity driving results? Growing a diverse workforce will take more than putting jobs on ad-hoc websites.

Circa is a catalyst for 21st century companies to build high-performing diverse teams based on research that shows companies want to shift from diversity as a program to diversity as a business strategy. Circa’s robust portfolio of software solutions and unparalleled industry expertise gives customers the tools and knowledge they need to radically change how they approach talent acquisition and management.

When you post an available position on BankTalentHQ, that job is automatically disseminated into Circa’s network. Circa’s Diversity Recruiting is comprised of a network of 15,500+ community-based organizations including: 

  • Women
  • Minorities
  • Individuals with Disabilities
  • Veterans
  • Older Workers
  • Professional and Industry Organizations
  • College Students
  • One-Stop Career Centers

We know diversity and inclusion are important to your bank and VBA and BankTalentHQ are dedicated to making your recruitment activity easy and effective. Don’t waste another minute – click here to post your available positions and reach 15,500+ community-based organizations automatically. Questions? Contact Amy Binns.

Internal DEI Efforts at the VBA

The VBA is committed to supporting our member banks in their DEI journeys, and we are equally committed to providing training, opportunities for conversation and continuous evaluation of our business practices.

The VBA conducts internal trainings for staff in this space, and various VBA staff members participate in, attend or speak at external DEI forums and events. 

Related Events

ABA/VBA DEI Summit Spotlight
Self Paced Training for Your Team!

The ABA/VBA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit helped lay the groundwork for a better banking industry. Be an agent of change for your bank by delving into the DEI Summit Spotlight, a collection of four recorded strategy sessions from the event. Whether you missed it live, or are gearing up for the next DEI Summit, you can now access important sessions that will nurture your DEI efforts—no matter where you are in your journey. Hear directly from DEI experts, and master the leading practices in mitigating systemic barriers that exist for marginalized groups in the—all while learning actionable steps to implement change. Learn more here*.
*VBA members – contact Monica McDearmon for information about member pricing.

Sessions Included:

  • Building Belonging: Understanding Microaggressions and Micro-affirmations 
  • Inclusion: The Three Levels of Diversity, and the Four Ways to Get There
  • Building DEI into Your Bank’s Corporate Communications Strategy
  • Facilitating Team-Building Conversations around DEI in Today’s Environment

ABA to Host Call for Black Banker Network

ABA will host the next bimonthly call for its cross-bank network for Black bankers and all bank professionals seeking to advance Black employment, networking and professional development in banking in the industry on Friday, June 10 at 2 p.m. EDT. At this meeting, the leadership committee will present a draft of the mission and vision for the group and discuss goals and next steps.

At many larger firms, employee resource groups provide a space for groups of people who share a common identity to network and engage in professional development; ERGs also help with recruitment and retention of employees. However, since many Black bankers work in smaller organizations without access to other Black peers to share experiences, ask questions, to mentor and be mentored, ABA is exploring ways to support inclusion at an industry-wide level. Register for the call. For more information, contact ABA’s Naomi Mercer.

Save the date for the 2022 aba/vba dei summit: September 15th

View additional upcoming events here.

New for 2022: Virginia Banking Fellows Program in Partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education

In our newest effort, the VBA Education Foundation has partnered with the Virginia Foundation for Community Colleges to offer a statewide scholarship opportunity for underrepresented students – those from minority backgrounds, low-income, first in their family to attend college, or other factors such as disabilities or foster youth. The Foundation initially committed to support 12 total students over the next two years to be a part of this new program but thanks to the support of 6 VBA member banks, we will actually be supporting 12 students in the first year which is really exciting.

This opportunity will be available to students from the 23 community colleges across the state. One student from each of the six VBA regions will be selected as a “Virginia Banking Fellow” for the opportunity to make meaningful connections with VBA members and other students in their region and statewide.

Virginia Banking Fellows will each receive a $10,000 scholarship, have the opportunity to take banking industry online training courses and possibly be connected to internship opportunities at VBA member banks. 

Please contact Monica McDearmon for more information about this new partnership. 

Additional Resources & Articles of Interest