Giving People a Second Chance: How JPMorgan Chase is Removing Barriers Through Policy, Community Partnerships and Reforms to its Own Hiring Practices

Nan Gibson, Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, and Jared Evans, Community Manager for the Stony Island, Chicago Chase Branch, sat down to share their experiences advancing JPMorgan Chase’s nationwide Second Chance Agenda.

April 25, 2023

What is the Second Chance hiring movement, and why is it so important right now?
: One in three Americans has a criminal record, and they face extraordinary challenges to career and economic mobility. JPMorgan Chase believes that if you have paid your debt to society, you should be allowed to work in order to create a better future for yourself. Instead, justice-involved individuals often face barriers to employment and economic opportunity, costing the U.S. economy about $80 billion annually.

How is JPMorgan Chase changing its practices to advance the Second Chance movement?
Nan: JPMorgan Chase takes a uniquely multi-faceted approach to Second Chance efforts. Internally, the bank made changes to our own hiring practices by “banning the box”– an effort that removes the requirement to disclose criminal records on job applications. As a result, 10 percent of our new hires in the U.S. for the last three years have a record, with no bearing on their roles.

We’re also helping other large companies standardize similar practices as a founding member of the Second Chance Business Coalition. The coalition works with over 45 major employers to create an equitable future by developing best practices and tools for employers to change hiring and advancement practices.

JPMorgan Chase also advocates for Second Chance legislation on both the federal and state levels. In addition to supporting the federal Fair Hiring in Banking Act, which was signed into law in December 2022, we have provided legislative testimony in Vermont, New York, Colorado, Oregon, Missouri, and Texas in support of various clean slate proposals.

Jared: We’re connecting Nan’s nationwide leadership to communities on the ground by hosting expungement clinics at our community branches, like the one I manage in Chicago. At these clinics, attorneys from the JPMorgan legal team offer their services pro-bono to help members of the public learn about expungement eligibility in their state, map out the steps to completion, and offer support compiling the necessary paperwork. I had the pleasure of partnering with Nan when we launched the bank’s first pilot expungement clinic in Stony Island last year. The community response was so positive that Nan and her team worked to replicate the success we saw in other cities like Columbus and Wilmington.

What has the experience been like running these expungement clinics in the Chicago Community branch?
The community has been very receptive to the work we’ve done so far. On days when we have clinics running, people going about their daily banking will stop and ask me “What’s going on today?” I tell them “We’re doing an expungement clinic.” They’re often blown away to learn that JPMorgan is engaged in this type of work. Not only are we helping people who come into the clinic for appointments, but we also connect with other customers who think that they or a family member might benefit from similar services. It’s becoming clear that there is a huge demand for services like this in the communities we serve.

Have you learned any key insights from offering these services in Chicago?
The most important thing has been to approach our community members with an open mind, embodying a willingness to pivot when you hear valuable feedback. Those instances are where the true “aha” moments exist.

For example, in past clinics we’ve heard that one of the more difficult steps in the expungement process is for a person to access their official record of arrests or prosecutions. This typically involves going to the police station, which is a potential source of trauma for participants. To ease this administrative hurdle, we’re beginning to work with our legal partners to offer the same access to records on-site during the expungement clinics. We need to really lean-in and be attentive to what our community members are saying to ensure that we can make an impact.

Nan: And as on-the-ground insights like the one Jared highlighted emerge, we have the opportunity to strengthen our nationwide programming. We’re very excited to see the expungement clinic model expand, and are working to bring more of them to our community branches across the country.

Click here for more information on our second chance work.