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Saturday, May 18, 2024

15 AGs Allege Bank of America Using ‘Discriminatory’ Banking Practices

'Your bank needs to be transparent with and assure us, its shareholders, and others that it will not continue to de-bank customers for their speech or religious exercise...'

(Chris Woodward, The Center Square) – A coalition of 15 Republican attorneys general want Bank of America to correct what the law officers are calling “debanking practices.”

In a letter sent this week to Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan, the attorneys general, led by Kansas’s Kris Kobach, wrote that Bank of America “appears to be conditioning access to its services on customers having the bank’s preferred religious or political views.”

The letter goes on the claim the bank has “denied services to gun manufacturers, distributors, and sellers, fossil fuel producers, contractors for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and private prisons and related services.”

In terms of religious organizations, the attorneys general said “Bank of America has also canceled the accounts of multiple religious groups with mainstream views in the last three years.” As a result, the group wrote that it is “no exaggeration to say that Bank of America is responsible for some of the worst-known instances of debanking.”

In addition to Kobach, attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia signed the letter.

“Your discriminatory behavior is a serious threat to free speech and religious freedom, is potentially illegal, and is causing political and regulatory backlash,” the attorneys general told Bank of America. “Your bank needs to be transparent with and assure us, its shareholders, and others that it will not continue to de-bank customers for their speech or religious exercise.”

The attorneys general gave Bank of America 30 days to provide a written report about their policies and practices, update terms of service, participate in the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, and support shareholder proposals protecting religious and political diversity.

“We commend Attorney General Kobach and his colleagues for taking bold, appropriate action to put customers first and hold Bank of America accountable on these crucial issues,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco in a press release.

“Bank of America needs to rebuild trust with its shareholders and customers.”

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