A Senate Banking Committee report made public last night urged the Treasury Department to step up its program of insuring equal employment opportunity for women and minorities in the nation's banks and other financial institutions.
Emphasizing the committee's view that this is a continuing problem of discrimination by banks, chairman William Proxmire (D-Wis.) said:
"The committee finds that the Treasury has unduly relied upon public relations, moral suasion and voluntary compliance, and has neglected to use the sanctions and other measures available to it for enforcing anti-discrimination and affirmative action requirements."
Proxmire noted that the Treasury is responsible for seeing that financial institutions which are government contractors comply with federal rules prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religous, sex or national origin. Any bank that holds federal deposits or deals with U.S. Saving Bonds is a government contractor.
According to the Banking Committee chairman,if the Treasury finds a banking institution not in compliance, it is supposed to issue a 30-day showcause notice. If the institution still fails to comply, the Treasury is required to take enforcement action, such as cancelling federal deposits.
Over the ten-year of the program, fewer than 20 show-cause notices have been issued and not a single depository contract has been revoked, even in cases where financial institutions refused to comply, according to the committe report.
"In particular, the committee recommends that Treasury consider initiating actions to remove federal deposits from few of those institutions which already have long histories of failure to comply," Proxmire said.