New wild card in bank M&A

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2023-03-28 15:21:12  • 9 mins

Corliss Garner, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Old National Bank, celebrates the closing bell of the Nasdaq on Nov. 1.

Courtesy of Nasdaq

There is a long list of items to consider when pondering a potential acquisition. The takeover target's customer base. The number of branches it has and their location. What kind of lending it does.

There is one area that has been traditionally overlooked but has recently been gaining more traction how the buyer and seller's approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion would mesh.

"Do you understand what the workforce looks like and what it will look like after it's done around talent development?" said Carolynn Johnson, CEO of DiversityInc, which promotes workplace equality. "What about things like employee resource groups and mentoring?"

Diversity issues have only risen in importance over the last few years for the financial services sector. Almost three-quarters of bank and credit union employees thought that organizations made better decisions when there was employee diversity, according to Arizent's second annual report on diversity, equity and inclusion, which was released in October. Additionally, more than a third of employees who worked at financial institutions with a perceived commitment to DEI reported healthy workplaces, according to the Arizent research. That compares with just 15% for those who said their organization "maybe" has a commitment to DEI.

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