Shocking Allegations Rock Bank of America

Sergei Elagin /
Sergei Elagin /

A gang of 15 Republican attorneys general has rolled up their sleeves and decided to give Bank of America a piece of their mind. Brace yourselves for some sassy legal smackdowns! These 15 Republican attorneys general are urging Bank of America to rectify what they perceive as unjust “debanking practices.”

In a letter addressed to Bank of America’s Chairman and CEO, Brian Moynihan, the group of attorneys general led by Kris Kobach of Kansas have expressed their concerns over the bank’s alleged imposition of specific ideological prerequisites for accessing its services. According to the attorneys general, Bank of America seems to be aligning its services with specific religious or political viewpoints, which could be discriminatory and violate the principles of fair access to financial services.

They have emphasized that such practices are unacceptable and could harm the bank’s reputation and credibility. The attorneys general have urged Bank of America to clarify its policies regarding access to its services and ensure that they are not based on any discriminatory or ideological grounds. They have also called for transparency and accountability in the bank’s decision-making processes, particularly in relation to the criteria used to approve or deny access to its services. They have requested a detailed response from the bank, outlining its position and planned actions to address the concerns raised.

The letter points out situations where the bank has allegedly denied its services to various entities, including gun manufacturers, distributors, sellers, fossil fuel producers, contractors associated with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and companies involved in private prisons and related services.

The attorneys general have alleged that Bank of America has terminated the accounts of several mainstream religious organizations within the last three years. As a result of such actions, some of the most severe incidents of debanking have occurred. These incidents have left these organizations financially excluded, causing them to have no access to banking services and to scramble to locate another bank.

The attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, along with Kobach, signed a letter criticizing Bank of America for its discriminatory behavior. The attorneys general consider this behavior a major threat to free speech and religious freedom. They suggest that such behavior may be illegal and provoke political and regulatory repercussions.

Furthermore, the attorneys general demand transparency from Bank of America and call for assurances that the bank will refrain from debanking customers based on their speech or religious practices. They set a 30-day deadline for the bank to furnish a written report outlining its policies and practices, update its terms of service, participate in the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, and support shareholder proposals safeguarding religious and political diversity.

Jeremy Tedesco, SVP of Corporate Engagement at Alliance Defending Freedom, lauds AG Kobach and colleagues for holding Bank of America accountable and prioritizing customers’ interests. Tedesco emphasizes the need for Bank of America to rebuild trust with its shareholders and customers in light of these concerns.

Bank of America has faced Republican scrutiny before. In May 2023, the House Republicans began investigating whether the bank voluntarily shared a list of customers with the FBI. The list contained names of people who made transactions related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and those who purchased firearms using the bank’s credit and debit cards.

Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio who chairs both the House committee and the Weaponization subcommittee, and Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, have requested additional information from Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan regarding the bank’s collaboration with the FBI. Jordan and Massie asserted that, according to experienced FBI personnel, Bank of America furnished private financial data of Americans to the nation’s most influential law enforcement body without any legal proceedings.