Low angle view of Skyscrapers in downtown Toronto during the day

Toronto-Dominion Bank has doubled the number of Black employees at the vice-president level or higher between mid-2020 and Dec. 31, 2022, meeting a goal the bank set following the racial reckoning of 2020.

TD declined to share the current or former number of Black executives.

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, several financial institutions made pledges related to racial justice. TD had the earliest public deadline for improved Black representation, having announced in 2020 that it would double its representation of Black executives by the end of 2022 and increase minority executive representation across the bank by 50% by 2025.

CIBC had the next-earliest goal: to have 4% of board-approved executive roles held by Black employees by 2023.

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Though the bank has not yet achieved this goal, “we expect to reach this goal by the end of 2023 and have also set a new goal of at least 5% of global board-approved executive roles held by members of the Black community by the end of 2025,” said Kira Smylie, senior consultant, public affairs with CIBC in an emailed statement.

CIBC had more than 3% of global board-approved executive roles held by members of the Black community as of Oct. 31, 2022.

A KPMG survey released Tuesday found 88% of Black Canadian workers feel companies need stronger commitments and targets for hiring and promoting Black people.

Eighty-six percent called for more appointments of Black people to boards of directors or senior management ranks, while 82% urged more anti-racism education and training for employees and management.

“The problem [of underrepresentation] was acute to the Black community, and we’ve put an extra focus on that,” said Al Ramsay, vice-president and head of 2SLGBTQ+ and Black Customer Segments with TD Bank Group. “We have a dedicated recruiter for the Black community. They get out there and look for the best and brightest talent, which we’re proud of.”

TD also is growing its Black customer experience strategy, which launched in October 2021, and Ramsay said the team has completed its first phase of training staff on how to better serve Black customers.

As part of that strategy, the bank launched its Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program in February, which is meant to provide more equitable access to loans for businesses that are at least 50% Black-owned. The program includes an enhanced credit adjudication process, and offers support to business owners — both those who receive a loan and those who require more preparation to qualify — from organizations such as the Federation of African Canadian Economics.

Ramsay said the Black customer experience team spent six months training more than 50 small business account managers in anticipation of the launch.

TD is the fifth of the Big Six banks to launch its own loan program for Black entrepreneurs. Royal Bank of Canada launched its program in 2021; in 2022, CIBC, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank launched theirs.

These programs are all separate from — and seemingly in place of — the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund (BELF) announced by the federal government in May 2021, which was meant to be a partnership between the government, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Big Six and two credit unions. Only the credit unions, Vancity and Alterna Savings, are offering loans through the BELF.

Tarisai Madambi, KPMG’s director of management consulting, said Black Canadians want their employers to “walk the talk” on anti-racism commitments that followed the 2020 murder of George Floyd and subsequent calls for change. While she said those commitment have not waned, companies are “struggling in terms of balancing their priorities.”

“I think the hardest part is getting the commitment and the conviction that what organizations are doing is the right thing,” she said.

“Nobody wants to feel like they are being forced into things. The last thing I would like to see is organizations making commitments because they feel like they’re doing this as a checkbox or a compliance matter. It really needs to be something that we believe in.”