Nearly two dozen state attorneys general are demanding the major companies that influence corporate shareholders to stop backing efforts to “de-bank” clients because of their political or religious beliefs. Clients that have found their accounts suddenly terminated have been conservative or religious groups based on the reasoning of “reputational risk.” CBN News reports, a seven-page letter warned the companies against opposing resolutions that would hold financial institutions accountable for withholding their services from clients based on political or religious beliefs.
Republican Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird who is leading the effort called out companies and financial institutions for a lack of transparency. In her letter, Brenna wrote “We seek more transparency and written assurance that you will cease any practice that violates the law, including your duty to act in the best interest of the citizens of our States, or your stated policies on recommendations.”
Bird told the Daily Caller News Foundation that companies like Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis, which control 97% of the proxy advisory services market, are advising banks to “keep quiet about why they’ve closed people’s bank accounts.”
“We’ve seen banks targeting accounts for Second Amendment groups, like the NRA, or religious groups, including Christian nonprofits,” Bird said.
The banks often say that they have closed accounts because of “reputational risk” or “hate speech.”
CBN News has previously reported on the alarming “weaponization” of banking and financial services. Their reports have shown that Christian and conservative groups that are labeled “high risk” can be denied financial services. Some examples include the Family Council of Arkansas whose bank account was canceled by JP Morgan Chase; and the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a multi-faith organization, also had its bank account closed by JP Morgan Chase.
“Banking expert Nick Anthony at the CATO Institute says federal law gives banks a myriad of excuses to cancel groups whose values present so-called ‘reputational risks.’ He adds the real culprit may also be federal regulators, who can pressure banks to cancel certain groups,” according to CBN News.
Until banking laws are changed to protect people of faith, Anthony expects the cancelation of their bank accounts to continue.