Shareholders and State Officials Accuse Bank of America of Political and Religious Discrimination

The biggest banks in the US are still being accused of cutting ties with customers based on their political or religious beliefs.

During a shareholder meeting at Bank of America on April 24th, a group of shareholders accused the bank of showing bias against conservative and Christian organizations. They called for an internal investigation to determine how widespread this practice may be.

“Banks must restore trust with the American public,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, stated at a press conference following the shareholder meeting.

“Providing needed transparency about questions regarding politicized de-banking is a clear path toward rebuilding this trust, and we will continue to call upon major banks like Bank of America to reverse course, stop evading their own shareholders, and correct the underlying policies that lead to de-banking,” he continued.

State attorneys general and treasurers have made similar accusations against the United States’ second-largest bank, boasting nearly $2.5 trillion in assets.

Indiana State Treasurer Daniel Elliott contended that several instances of de-banking suggest a trend of political or religious bias by the bank.

“When you start to look at it as a whole, it suddenly becomes a very, very serious—and frankly scary—endeavor,” Mr. Elliott told reporters.

“This isn’t the right way to do business in America,” he added.

On April 18th, 15 state financial officials wrote a letter to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan to “express our concerns over Bank of America’s troubling track record of politicized de-banking.”

However, Bank of America denied the accusation that it has turned away customers for these reasons.

“Given the large number of nonprofits we serve that are affiliated with religious organizations, it’s absurd to think religious beliefs are a factor in any account closing decision,” Bill Haldin, Bank of America spokesman, told The Epoch Times, addressing the allegations of religious but not political discrimination. “Very simply, they are not.”

Ultimately, just 3 percent of the bank’s shareholders backed the proposal to evaluate its practices. Mr. Tedesco attributed this to the influence of major institutional asset managers and proxy agents, who frequently align with progressive causes like the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement.”Bank of America has publicly asserted that it is absurd to think religious beliefs are a factor in any account decision,” he said.

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“What is absurd is that Bank of America is refusing to undertake a simp.le analysis to determine whether its policies and practices are resulting in viewpoint based banking decisions that harm the bank and its shareholders,” he added.

Attorneys general from 15 states, including Kansas AG Kris Kobach, accused Bank of America of potentially discriminating based on political or religious beliefs.

They cited instances of account closures for Christian ministries and criticized the bank’s past actions, including denying services to various groups. The AGs warned of legal and regulatory risks for such practices.

Additionally, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a law prohibiting large banks and insurers from political or religious discrimination against state residents.

State Rep. Jason Zachary emphasized the importance of protecting Tennesseans from “de-banking” by major banks. Gov. Lee also signed a bill blocking credit card companies from tracking firearm purchases through merchant category codes.

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By Hunter Fielding
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