30 is the magic number: Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chairman and chief executive, went on the air this week boasting about its achievements in gender diversity. "What I'm pretty proud to say is 30% of my direct reports are women. I've been trying to get the press to write a story about this for years,” he said, with a shout out to Thasunda Duckett, CEO of the consumer banking business. "30% of our top 200 people are women” across investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, private banking and credit cards, he added. After yet another human resources bombshell in the tech world, Dimon said he believes Wall Street has surpassed Silicon Valley in terms of gender equality — and he’s right, mostly. Women make up 48.4% of the employees at the U.S.’s top banks, compared with 33.2% at tech companies, according to Axios. Still, Wall Street and Silicon Valley still have very few women in leadership positions. Women make up about a quarter of the executives in both sectors. The departure of JPMorgan’s chief operating officer, Matt Zames, earlier this summer sparked a lot of talk about the candidates that could succeed Dimon. With contenders like Marianne Lake, the chief financial officer, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of the company’s asset management division, Dimon may only prove his point on his way out the door.
Eyeing digital identity: Bank of America this month will begin piloting iris-scan technology from Samsung that lets customers log in to the mobile banking app by snapping a picture of their eye. The bank is studying the preferences of customers for authenticating with different biometrics as well as how companies in financial services and beyond are addressing authentication methods, according to digital banking head Michelle Moore. “Even in today’s day and age of digital natives, there are questions about safety and security,” she said. “At some point, passwords will be a thing of the past and we need to take friction out of the authentication and verification process.” About 1,500 B of A and Samsung employees will test the Samsung technology for about six weeks.
The whole package: Like most aspects of banking, small business loans are no longer just about the financial agreement between the bank and the customer, but the personal attention that comes before and after the service, according to Wells Fargo’s Lisa Stevens, president of western region regional banking. Last year Wells launched its own online lending product, FastFlex, in response not only to new competition from the likes of OnDeck Capital and Bond Street, but to its own customers asking for faster approvals, simpler applications and help. Now it wants to allow access to that product beyond Wells Fargo customers.
Who’s next?: President Donald Trump has said Janet Yellen — whose term as chair of the Federal Reserve Board is due to expire in February — is in the running to stay, but a reappointment is still unlikely considering the level of opposition she faces from conservative Republicans wanting to see big changes at the Fed. Speculation about who might replace her is rampant in D.C. It could be one of these nine men.
The online lending and investing platform StreetShares has hired Heather Tuason, formerly a senior vice president of small business at Capital One, as its chief product officer.
Falsehoods: One of Google’s highest ranking female employees, Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of YouTube, which is owned by Google, has responded to the 10-page anti-diversity memo criticizing Google’s diversity efforts with an essay inspired by her daughter, who asked: “Is it true that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?” The essay discussed how that very question has weighed heavily on her throughout her career in technology, when she’s faced increasingly less subtle but deeply systemic sexism. She wonders why some are defending the the memo’s authorship as free speech and how reactions might differ if the memo had alienated some other minority group.
Take sexism to court: “The notion of Silicon Valley as the seat of human progress is a myth,” and “it may take the force of our legal system” to change its biases, Anita Hill wrote in the New York Times, in the wake of the anti-diversity manifesto circulated by a now fired Google employee. History shows women face many challenges in bringing class-action lawsuits, confidentiality clauses and arbitration agreements among them. (Look at the Sterling Jewelers and Boom Boom Room cases for how daunting the challenges can be.) But that doesn't mean lawsuits can’t be brought at all and this is a route women in tech should consider, Hill argued. The benefits reach beyond the victories of female plaintiffs; advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. “It’s time women in tech consider taking advantage of the law to disrupt the industry once and for all,” Hill said.
Meanwhile, at Uber…: The search for a female CEO to replace Travis Kalanick after the company’s own sexism scandal has been narrowed down to three men. Although it looks like Uber will be replacing a man with a man, this case is in line with data compiled by Bloomberg this week that shows companies, despite all internal efforts, often backpedal on diversity, with men replacing women as CEOs more often than not. Only three of 19 female CEOs have been succeeded by women since 2009.
Sarah Wynn contributed to this article.