Filene Research Institute launches Center of Excellence for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The centre will identify best practices and develop guides for implementation

US-based Filene Research Institute has launched a Center of Excellence for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

The team will study the barriers in the way of a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce and workplace. The centre will also identify best practices and release guides and tool books for implementation; the goal is an industry-wide benchmarking of the current state of DEI in credit unions.

A five-year research project led by Dr Quinetta Roberson of Villanova University, the centre will look at work the credit union industry is doing, and conduct applied research on DEI practices in credit unions to serve as a model for the larger financial services sector.

Desert Financial Credit Union is one of the credit unions sponsoring the centre. Its president and CEO Jeff Meshey said: “The credit union movement has a proud legacy of connecting underserved communities to resources and tools that promote financial empowerment.

“We have long sought the right opportunity to contribute to serious research on diversity, equity and inclusion related to the financial services sector. We’re proud to align with the Filene Reserch Institute at this critical moment in our history.”

He added: “We anticipate Dr Roberson’s findings will serve as a roadmap for all credit unions for improving our best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion. I anticipate the discoveries made will impact policy related to our own workplaces and business operations, and yield positive changes for our members, communities and teams.”

“There is an opportunity to transform how we understand what matters around diversity, equity, fairness and inclusion,” said Taylor C. Nelms, senior director of research at Filene. “It is critical to look at diversity, equity and inclusion from many different angles, including both visible and invisible forms of diversity, from the workplace to the marketplace, in order to increase diverse representation and advance organisational inclusiveness and equitable outcomes in credit unions and in financial services generally.”

The other credit unions backing the centre are Schools First Credit Union, State Department Federal Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, United Nations Federal Credit Union, University of Wisconsin Credit Union, Visions Federal Credit Union and Xceed Financial Federal Credit Union.