Banks Hiring Criminals

Lots of people will read the headline below (or ours above!) and quickly conclude that this bank is doing something shady. After all, who wants criminals managing their money? But that isn’t the story, here: it’s about an attempt at progressive hiring. Many categories of criminal conviction say very little about the individual’s trustworthiness, but such convictions often serve to limit people’s employment opportunities. Once bank customers understand the significance of J.P. Morgan’s new, more permissive hiring policy, do customers have any remaining reason to worry?


LINK: JP Morgan’s new policy chief says 10% of 2018 hires at the bank had criminal records (by Matthew J. Belvedere for CNBC)

J.P. Morgan Chase — a leading corporate supporter of removing questions about convictions and arrests from job applications — hired about 2,100 people in the United States with criminal records in 2018, according to the bank.

“We saw last year that 10% of new hires in the U.S. were people with criminal backgrounds,” said Heather Higginbottom, president of the J.P. Morgan PolicyCenter, which launched Monday.

Many of the new hires with criminal backgrounds work in entry-levels jobs such as transaction processing, and lending and account services, according to the press release announcing the center and the “second chance” hiring initiative. Those workers were arrested or convicted of low-level crimes, including disorderly conduct, personal drug possession and driving under the influence, the release also said.

“We have ‘banned the box’ as a firm, which means we’ve removed the check box asking about criminal backgrounds on an application,” Higginbottom said on “Squawk Box.” “We have federal regulations that we abide by, of course, and we always want to find the best person for the job. We’re not lowering our standards,” she said. “We’re just going out in a broader way.”

“One in 3 Americans has a criminal record,” she added. “That record is a barrier to employment”….

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