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Photo: Bank of America

Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane, who helped push the industry into climate finance and other forms of sustainable investing, will retire at the end of the year, the bank announced today.

Why it matters: Finucane positioned Bank of America as a leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, and pushed the bank to commit to sustainable capital deployment as part of the business, not just as part of corporate-responsibility efforts.

Thomas Montag, COO and president of global banking and markets, will also retire at the end of 2021.

What they're saying: “From her time as one of the few senior women executives in financial services to today," Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said, Finucane has helped "make banking more transparent, while serving as a tireless advocate for equality, sustainable energy, education and health care."

  • Dina Powell McCormick, Goldman Sachs' global head of sustainability and inclusive growth, tells Axios: "Anne drove commercial success, pioneering work in the economic empowerment of women, and meaningful investment in underserved communities."
  • "As one of the most senior women in finance, she made a point to mentor and promote so many women," McCormick adds.

Backstory: Finucane, who joined the predecessor company Fleet Bank 26 years ago, helped lead Bank of America out of the financial crisis that began in 2007, including work on the Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010.

  • She was the first woman vice chair of Bank of America, and the first woman chair of the board of Bank of America Europe, the release said.
  • She oversaw the company’s creation last year of a $1.25 billion commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity over five years, and has been instrumental in supporting women leaders throughout business.
  • After retirement, Finucane will become non-executive chairman at Bank of America Europe, and will become a member of the company’s Global Advisory Council.

What to watch: Finucane is expected to continue working on climate issues.

Montag joined the company in 2008 as EVP and head of global sales and trading at Merrill Lynch, prior to the company’s merger with Bank of America.

  • Montag, co-chair of the Sustainable Markets Committee with Finucane, will also become a member of the company’s Global Advisory Council.
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Go deeper

Updated Nov 22, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on financial inclusion

On Monday, November 22nd, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and executive editor Aja Whitaker-Moore discussed how the public and private sectors are expanding access to capital and services for those who’ve been excluded from the financial system, featuring Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Women’s World Banking president and CEO Mary Ellen Iskenderian.

Sen. Tim Scott explained how he came to understand the importance of financial literacy, what the U.S. government can do to promote financial inclusion, and the primary issues that underbanked populations face.

  • On the role of financial literacy in setting up for future success: “Financial literacy has so much to do with your future success and your present opportunities, and having not learned those lessons early in life, I wanted to make sure that a part of my focus is on making sure that Americans today, no matter what their income, they have access to financial literacy.”
  • On helping credit worthy individuals have access to more financial opportunities: “We think about those folks who today are credit worthy, but they are credit invisible, so we want to make sure that more of your information finds itself into the credit scoring agencies’ hands, so that if you’re credit worthy, you have access to more products within the portfolio because you’ve earned it.”

Mary Ellen Iskenderian illustrated which populations are most impacted by divides in economic opportunity, how to reach women and help them gain better access to financial resources, and the rise of digital technology in banking.

  • On how the pandemic impacted economic inclusion for women: “I think one of the really seminal, important takeaways...was just how women in every geography, every age, every economic segment have really been disproportionately affected by both the health aspect of the pandemic...but also in the economic part of the pandemic. We saw unemployment rates across the globe 2 percentage points higher everywhere for women than for men.”
  • On disparities in access to digital banking: “So much of financial inclusion, financial outreach, to underserved populations today is being done through cell phone technology. But still, we’ve got a 15% gender gap in ownership of smartphones in particular.”

Axios VP of Finance and Accounting Abby Clawson hosted a View from the Top segment with TransUnion president and CEO Chris Cartwright, who conveyed ways to help more Americans become full participants in the financial ecosystem.

  • “There are a variety of non-loan financial activities that we believe should be included in the modern credit reporting system in order to expand access to that system for the tens of millions of Americans who currently don’t have it.”

Thank you TransUnion for sponsoring this event.

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.