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JPMorgan wants to hire people with criminal background

The United States boasts its lowest unemployment rate of nearly 50 years, but that is not true for people with previous convictions. Enter the largest bank in the country, which on Monday said it wants to level the playing field.
"When someone can't get their foot in the door to compete for a job, it's bad for business and bad for communities who need access to financial opportunity," said JPMorgan ( JPM ) Managing Director Jamie Dimon in a press release.

The bank said it wants to expand its pool of potential employees after already hiring some people with a conviction on entry level jobs, such as transaction processing and account services.

The United States loses between $ 78 billion and $ 87 billion in annual GDP by excluding people who have a criminal record from the workforce. , according to the bank. Studies also show that providing education and opportunities also reduces relapse.

"Jamie [Dimon] believes, and we believe as a company, that business has an important role to play in building a more inclusive economy," said Heather Higginbottom, president of the recently launched JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, to CNN Business.

Financial institutions are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as far as hiring goes. The agency began to relax the rules last year.

JPMorgan has now "banned the box" asking potential employees if they have a criminal record.

Barriers to entry

However, many employers still require disclosure of previous convictions, and this constitutes a barrier to entry into the labor market for people with a criminal background.

Because of this, unemployment is much higher for Americans with records than for those without. In fact, it is an estimated 27% for the roughly five million former prisoners in the country, according to JPMorgan. It is compared to 3.5% for the United States as a whole.

A record that is eligible for pardon or for expulsion should not matter to a job seeker, Higginbottom said.

But if you robbed a bank, chances are you still won't be hired by JPMorgan.

"We are not lowering our employment standards," Higginbottom said.

Last year, 1[ads1]0% of her employment – 2,100 people – had some kind of criminal record, she added. Crimes ranged from disordered behavior to personal drug paraphernalia and DUI charges.

Getting a printed mail can be confusing, and the process differs from state to state, Higginbottom said. A study done in Michigan showed that only 6.5% of people who are eligible for a clean slate actually go through the process of expanding records. Pennsylvania, Utah and California have enacted laws to automate the process. A handful of other states are planning to do the same.

JPMorgan said it will work with community organizations to help people in the process.

The bank said it would invest around $ 7 billion in community organizations in cities. including Chicago, Detroit and Nashville to support people with a criminal past.

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