Of the 327 financial regulators that have been appointed at U.S. federal agencies throughout history, only 10 have been Black. That’s a mere 3%, for a demographic that reflects 13% of the country’s population. Financial regulators are the leaders of national financial agencies, such as the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission, which act as stewards of banks, corporations, and financial markets. These agencies have the purported goal of ensuring fairness for economic participants. But Black people have been largely absent from those policy-making decisions.
Because many of the financial-regulation policies are intended to rectify historical injustices that have targeted Black people—including issues such as redlining and auto and student loan discrimination—it makes sense to have, at the policy-making table, people who’ve had the “lived experience as the group for whom the financial system has failed,” says Chris Brummer, faculty director of Georgetown’s Institute of International Economic Law, who compiled a new report on the issue, published by the Brookings Institution. It illustrates how underrepresented Black Americans have been in the agencies that are supposed to remedy the financial injustices that have largely affected Black populations.