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NYT: JPMorgan Denied Millionaire NFL Player Private Client Status For Racial Reasons

NYT: JPMorgan Denied Millionaire NFL Player Private Client Status For Racial Reasons

Banking giant JPMorgan & Chase Co. (NYSE: JPM) denied private client status to former national football league player Jimmy Kennedy because he is black, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Kennedy Denied Despite $800K In Deposits 

The Times accessed audio recordings of conversations between Kennedy and Charles Belton, an employee at Kennedy’s local JPMorgan branch in Arizona, who also happens to be black.

“You’re bigger than the average person, period. And you’re also an African-American,” Belton reportedly Kennedy in a conversation at the bank that took place in 2018. 

“We’re in Arizona. I don’t have to tell you about what the demographics are in Arizona. They don’t see people like you a lot.”

Kennedy, who earned $13 million in his time with the NFL, was denied the private client status despite depositing $800,000 at the bank, The Times reported.

JPMorgan typically offers the coveted status to clients who deposit more than $250,000.

Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, told The Times that the bank wasn’t previously aware of the audio recordings and has

placed an executive director on administrative leave while his conduct is investigated. The spokeswoman defended the bank's "overall treatment" of Kennedy and his former financial advsior Ricardo Peters, according to the Times. 

Systematic Racism At JPMorgan?

Belton was assigned to Kennedy’s case, after Peters, another black employee, was let go from JPMorgan.

Peters has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing JPMorgan of racial discrimination, The Times said.

The bank denied accusations of racial discrimination in Peters' firing, telling the Times that the “facts are indisputable” in the case. 

JPMorgan faced similar racism accusations in a class action lawsuit brought by six black employees last year. The bank settled the lawsuit out of court for $24 million, as reported by Bloomberg at the time.

JPMorgan shares were trading 2.65% higher at $137.75 at the time of publication. 

Benzinga file photo by Dustin Blitchok. 

Posted-In: Jimmy Kennedy The New York TimesNews Media Best of Benzinga


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