(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp on Tuesday pledged $1 billion to help communities across the country address economic and racial inequality, the first big bank to vow monetary support following violent protests after the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
“The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said.
“We all need to do more,” he said in a statement.
Major cities across the country were hit by the worst civil unrest seen in years following the death of George Floyd last week, with demonstrators setting fire to a strip mall in Los Angeles, looting stores in New York City and clashing with police.
The protests come at a time when businesses are looking to reopen after months of coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
Bank of America said its four-year commitment will include programs such as virus testing and other health services, especially focusing on communities of color, support to minority-owned small businesses, and partnerships with historically black and Hispanic educational institutions.
Last week, Citigroup Inc Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason, one of the few black executives on Wall Street, published a personal essay on expressing his “horror, disgust and anger” over the killing of Floyd.
Heads of U.S. lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co also issued statements denouncing racism and discrimination, while CEOs of Canadian banks Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce called for action to tackle racism.
Goldman Sach Group Inc in April pledged here $300 million to support communities and small business, while JPMorgan in March commited here $50 million to address public health and economic challenges from the pandemic.
Reporting by C Nivedita; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty