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JPMorgan CEO Claims Bank Is Leading In Hiring Black Workers, But Numbers Tell Different Story

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says the company has boosted its recruitment of African-Americans. (Photo by David A. Grogan | CNBC)

When it comes to diversity, JPMorgan Chase “has done as well as almost any corporation out there,” according to company CEO Jamie Dimon.

The firm’s own numbers seem to tell a different story, however.

During an interview with CNBC this week, Dimon boasted about his company’s progress in boosting diversity, particularly with African-American and female employees. The forward-looking growth he spoke of didn’t hold up against a recent report by Bloomberg News that showed that the percentages of African-American employees and execs at JPMorgan Chase and other large U.S. banks have fallen over the past five years.

Even as diversity improves across corporate America, the numbers showed that Black folks comprise less than 2.6 percent of senior positions at JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup combined. In fact, the percentage of Black employees at Dimon’s firm dropped to 13.7 percent last year from 15.2 percent in 2012.

“We’re making a special effort because we acknowledge that while we’ve done as well as almost any corporation out there, we haven’t done JPMorgan well,” Dimon said during the interview, mentioning the company’s effort to bring on more Black employees.

The CEO said the company has set up a separate group to focus on school recruiting, retention and hiring “more senior African-American talent,” and highlighted the fact that it now has “a Black woman who runs our retail division who’s on our trip with us.”

“It’s starting to work,” Dimon added. “The numbers are getting better and it’s different.”

Still, the bank chairman acknowledged that the company still has some work to do.

“The reason it’s different is because it’s a different history, a different background,” he explained. “A lot of African-Americans didn’t grow up in the same neighborhoods as white people. Whites are maybe less comfortable with them.”

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