America’s largest banks continue to face allegations that they are de-banking customers over their political or religious views.

At a Bank of America shareholder meeting on April 24, a shareholder group accused the bank of discriminating against conservative and Christian groups, and asked the bank to conduct 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.”

State attorney generals and state treasurers have made similar allegations against America’s second-largest bank, which has nearly $2.5 trillion in assets.

Indiana state treasurer Daniel Elliott argued that a number of de-banking incidents appear to indicate a pattern of political or religious discrimination 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.”

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

Bank of America, however, refuted the charge that it has rejected customers on this basis.

“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, only 3 percent of the bank’s shareholders voted in support of the proposal to assess the bank’s practices. Mr. Tedesco attributed this to the role of large institutional asset managers and proxy agents, who often support progressive agendas such as 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. “What is absurd is that Bank of America is refusing to undertake a simple analysis to determine whether its policies and practices are resulting in viewpoint based banking decisions that harm the bank and its shareholders.”

On April 15, attorneys general from 15 states signed a letter to Bank of America, charging that the bank “appears to be conditioning access to its services on customers having the bank’s preferred religious or political views.”

The letter was penned by Kansas AG Kris Kobach and co-signed by AGs from Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. They charged that Bank of America closed the accounts of Christian ministries such as the Timothy Two Project International, which trains pastors in impoverished countries, and the Memphis-based Christian charity Indigenous Advance for non-financial reasons.

“In the past, Bank of America has denied services to gun manufacturers, distributors, and sellers; fossil-fuel producers; contractors for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and private prisons and related services,” the AGs wrote. “It recently made headlines for cooperating with the FBI and U.S. Treasury to profile conservative and religious Americans as potential domestic terrorists.”

The AGs stated that the bank uses ambiguous criteria, such as allegations of promoting “intolerance” or “hate” often leveled at conservative Christians who voice their deeply-held values, and warned Bank of America that such practices would expose financial institutions to litigation and regulatory risk.

“[Bank of America] excludes religious charities from its charitable giving and employee charitable match programs,” the AGs stated. “And Bank of America is indoctrinating its employees with a divisive ‘racial reeducation program’ that encourages employees to be ‘woke at work,’ instructing white employees in particular to ‘decolonize [their] mind’ and ‘cede power to people of color.’”

On April 23, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill that prohibits large banks and insurance companies from political or religious discrimination against state residents.

“Every Tennessean should feel secure in expressing their religious and political views without fear of their financial services being denied or canceled by their bank for non-financial factors,” Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary said in an issued statement. “We have taken swift action to protect Tennesseans from this new trend of de-banking by the nation’s largest banks.”

On the same day, Gov. Lee also signed a bill that blocks credit card companies and other payment service providers from their prior attempt to implement merchant category codes in order to track purchases of firearms and other products from gun dealers.

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