Minority and Women Inclusion
Consistent with the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the FDIC continues to enhance its longstanding commitment to promote diversity and inclusion in employment opportunities and all business areas of the agency. The Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) supports the FDIC’s mission through outreach efforts to ensure the fair inclusion and utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses, law firms, and investors in contracting and investment opportunities.
The FDIC relies on contractors to help meet its mission. The FDIC awarded 166 (29.4 percent) contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses (MWOBs) out of a total of 565 issued. The FDIC awarded contracts with a combined value of $499.5 million in 2018, of which 24.5 percent ($122.5 million) were awarded to MWOBs, compared to 18.5 percent for all of 2017. The FDIC paid $98.0 million of its total contract payments (22.8 percent) to MWOBs, under 299 MWOB contracts.
The Legal Division’s legal contracting program endeavors to maximize the participation of both minority- and women-owned law firms (MWOLFs) and minority and women partners and associates employed at majority owned firms (Diverse Attorneys) in legal contracting. This approach is consistent with Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act that encourages diversity and inclusion at all levels. For both MWOLFs and Diverse Attorneys, FDIC legal matters provide important learning and professional client development opportunities that can be quite meaningful to career advancement. For the year 2018, the Legal Division has an aggregate 26.4 percent diversity and inclusion participation rate in legal contracting as set forth below.
The FDIC made 29 referrals to MWOLFs, which accounted for 28 percent of all legal referrals. Total payments to MWOLFs were $3.7 million in 2018, which is 7.7 percent of all payments to outside counsel, compared to 11 percent for all of 2017. In 2018, Diverse Attorneys earned $8.9 million in legal fees, which is 18.6 percent of all payments to outside counsel. Taken together, FDIC paid $12.7 million to MWOLF firms and Diverse Attorneys out of a total of $48.0 million dollars spent on outside counsel services in 2018. This number represents 26.4 percent of total outside counsel fees.
The keystone of the Legal Division diversity and inclusion outreach is the FDIC’s partnerships with minority bar associations and specialized stakeholder organizations. In 2018, the FDIC Legal Division participated in six minority bar association conferences and three stakeholder events in support of maximizing the participation of MWOLFs and Diverse Attorneys in FDIC legal contracting. Stakeholder event participation included service on several panels and committees, such as the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) Advisory Council, the NAMWOLF Events Committee, the NAMWOLF Law Firm Admissions Committee, and the NAMWOLF Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.
In 2018, NAMWOLF formally recognized the FDIC as a principal member of, and major contributor to, its Inclusion Initiative, a collaborative program among law departments of major corporations designed to increase the participation of MWOLF firms in legal contracting. Members of the Inclusion Initiative have spent over $1 billion with MWOLF firms since its inception. The FDIC participates in the Inclusion Initiative along with major corporations.
The Legal Division recognizes the value of involving FDIC in-house counsel in its MWOLF outreach. In 2018, the Legal Division collaborated with a top rated New York MWOLF firm to present a full day continuing legal education seminar on cutting edge legal issues in the capital markets area to FDIC attorneys who are responsible for engaging outside counsel. The program was designed to showcase the MWOLF’s expertise while providing the firm with valuable opportunities to build meaningful relationships with FDIC oversight attorneys in the field offices and at the headquarters office. In its ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts, the Legal Division continues to seek more opportunities to highlight the expertise of MWOLF firms in accordance with the needs of the FDIC at any given point in time. Also in 2018, the Legal Division presented an MWOLF Utilization Workshop for the closed bank oversight attorneys at the Dallas Regional Office. These attorneys are responsible for assigning work to MWOLFs. The program included a review of the prior year’s MWOLF statistics, planned projects, question and answers, and the solicitation of ideas from the attorneys for improving the selection and retention of outside counsel.
Pursuant to Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires an assessment of legal contractors’ internal workforce diversity practices, the Legal Division conducted nine compliance reviews of the top-billing law firms (both non-minority-owned and MWOLFs). The reviews included discussions that focused on associate and partner recruitment, retention rates of minority and women associates and partners, and partnership offers to minority and women attorneys working on FDIC legal matters. The site visit discussions are instrumental in gathering diversity data for ongoing monitoring efforts as well as the exchange of ideas to enhance diversity initiatives.
In addition to the outreach efforts noted above, the Legal Division continues to provide technical assistance to other related government agencies on developing MWOLF outreach programs that mirror FDIC’s program. The Legal Division evaluated and approved six new MWOLF applications in 2018. Firms from various geographic areas were added to the FDIC List of Counsel Available in order to be eligible to receive legal contracting work.
In 2018, the FDIC participated in a total of 33 business expos, one-on-one matchmaking sessions, and panel presentations. At these events, FDIC staff provided information and responded to inquiries regarding FDIC business opportunities for minorities and women. In addition to targeting MWOBs and MWOLFs, these efforts also targeted veteran-owned and small disadvantaged businesses. Vendors were provided with the FDIC’s general contracting procedures, prime contractors’ contact information, and forecasts of possible upcoming solicitations. Also, vendors were encouraged to register through the FDIC’s Contractor Resource List (the principal database for vendors interested in doing business with the FDIC). The Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) Director and Chief of the Minority and Women Business and Diversity Inclusion Branch made panel presentations and attended a number of these events to enhance OMWI’s outreach efforts.
The FDIC, in conjunction with the other OMWI agencies, partnered with the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center of San Antonio, University of Texas at San Antonio, and the Institute for Economic Development to host the Smart Contacts – Smart Contracts technical assistance event. The presenters shared information about tools for competing for government contracting opportunities and developing winning proposals. The OMWI Director, Chief of the Minority and Women Business Diversity Inclusion Branch, and leaders from other OMWI financial agencies made panel presentations to explain contracting opportunities. The OMWI agencies also hosted a panel on Doing Business with the OMWI Agencies. The final panel presentation consisted of representatives from various local minority/women trade organizations sharing their outreach mission and outreach services with the 199 attendees. In addition, the sponsoring agencies and various procurement trade organizations exhibited at the event.
Information regarding the Minority and Women Outreach Program can be found on the FDIC’s website at www.fdic.gov/mwop.
In addition, FDIC worked closely with the OMWIs of the OCC, FRB, CFPB, NCUA, SEC, and the Department of Treasury to further implement Section 342(b)(2)(C) of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires the agencies to develop standards to assess the diversity policies and practices of the entities they regulate. After publishing Joint Standards in 2015, the FDIC developed an electronic diversity self-assessment instrument to assist FDIC-regulated financial institutions in systematically assessing their diversity programs.
The FDIC started collecting voluntary self-assessments from its regulated financial institutions in 2017. The FDIC received 95 of 805 (11.8 percent) self-assessments in 2017 for the 2016 reporting period. In 2018, the FDIC received 137 of 820 (16.7 percent) self-assessments from its regulated institutions for the 2017 reporting period. OMWI analyzed the self-assessment responses for the 2016 reporting period and posted this analysis on its internal and external web sites.
While the FDIC is pleased with the increased participation of financial institutions in 2018, it will continue to take steps to increase voluntary participation by augmenting outreach at banking conferences, developing financial institution diversity marketing materials, and making improvements to the program website.
On September 13, 2018, the FDIC along with the OMWI agencies hosted an outreach event entitled “Financial Regulatory Agencies Diversity Summit” in New York, New York. The 109 individuals that attended the event were from various financial institutions that are regulated by the financial agencies. The event focused on the value of conducting voluntary self-assessments, annually submitting assessment results to OMWI Directors, and making diversity information transparent to the public. The OMWI agencies also outlined how the self-assessments will be used to identify leading trends and establish benchmarks that will assist financial institutions in assessing and enhancing their diversity programs. The OMWI FDIC Director, along with Directors from other OMWI financial agencies, made a panel presentation concerning the analysis of self-assessments received for the 2016 and 2017 reporting periods and associated issues.