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Royal Bank of Canada is committing Can$150 million (US$111 million) to racial diversity initiatives and aims to increase the proportion of non-white executives hired to 30 per cent from 20 per cent, Canada’s biggest lender said last week.

RBC joins Bank of America, which announced US$1 billion to address racial inequality, and others, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com Inc, in committing funds for racial justice causes following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May.

Across Canada’s top six banks, people of colour account for only about ten per cent of senior executives, according to a Reuters analysis, but none of the top six banks had either a black CEO or a board member.

Minorities made up 37 per cent of RBC’s Canadian workforce and 35 per cent of US employees in 2019, according to a report.

RBC said in a statement it has to better understand, identify and address issues that impede the success of black, indigenous and other racialised groups at the bank.

The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism in June urged business leaders to commit to increasing black representation among their workforces, executives and board roles by 2025.

“Many Canadian companies have made statements condemning anti-Black systemic racism it’s now time to back that up with action by signing the pledge,” founder Wes Hall, who also runs shareholder services firm Kingsdale Advisors, said in a statement.

RBC did not say when it seeks to reach its 30 per cent firm-wide target for non-white executive hires.

The bank pledged Can$100 million in small business loans over five years to black entrepreneurs and a Can$50 million investment until 2025 to create opportunities for 25,000 black, indigenous and people of colour.

Last month, Manulife Financial Corp and Bank of Nova Scotia pledged Can$3.5 million and Can$500,000 respectively for diversity initiatives.

Toronto-based RBC is the parent company of RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) Ltd.

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