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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 24, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 26
Bank of America branches now Safe Places for LGBTQ community
Section One
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Bank of America branches now Safe Places for LGBTQ community

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Bank of America announced June 23 that all 37 of the company's Seattle financial centers are participating in the Seattle Police Department's (SPD) Safe Place initiative.

The bank joins more than 1,600 other businesses, organizations, and schools to offer a place of safe refuge for the LGBTQ community and anyone else experiencing violence or harassment.

'Valuing diversity among our employees and across the communities we serve is essential to fulfilling Bank of America's purpose of making peoples' financial lives better,' said Anthony Diblasi, the bank's market president for Seattle and state president for Washington. 'Diversity makes us stronger. It makes us better and allows us to achieve our business strategy and create thriving economies. In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, our commitment to participate in the SPD Safe Place initiative has taken on new meaning and amplifies the importance of protecting and supporting all members of our community.'

SPD launched the Safe Place initiative in 2015, alongside Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), with the purpose of addressing hate crimes and harassment.

'SPD Safe Place unites businesses and community organizations with law enforcement to help victims of bias crimes,' said SPD Chief Kathleen O'Toole. 'I want to thank Bank of America for standing with us to ensure the safety of our diverse communities.'

As part of the program, a Safe Place decal that features the rainbow pride flag inside the shield of a police officer's badge will be displayed on the doors of BofA's 37 locations across the city (within SPD's service area). The company's employees also received training by SPD to call 911 if a bias crime occurs and to provide safe harbor within the financial center until the police arrive.

'SPD Safe Place brings together businesses and community organizations to stand against hate and intolerance,' said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. 'I am happy that businesses like Bank of America are joining our efforts to make Seattle a safe, inclusive city.'

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) began serving Washington more than 140 years ago and is Seattle's largest bank by retail deposit market share. The company is prepared to evaluate further participation in the Safe Place program that may be enacted by other communities and law enforcement agencies across Washington.

Bank officials say they strive to foster a workplace where employees are empowered to bring their authentic selves to work, leading to an inclusive culture where people can share their diverse perspectives and create value for customers and clients in doing so. The bank also continues to develop strategies, products, and services and a wide range of investment, banking, and wealth transfer capabilities that benefit and support the unique needs of its LGBTQ customers and clients. One of the world's leading financial institutions, Bank of America serves individual consumers, small and midsized businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services.

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