Republican Attorneys General Allege Bank of America Discriminates Against Religious Customers

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and 14 other Republican attorneys general have sent a letter to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, alleging that the company is “de-banking” religious and conservative customers.

According to the AGs, Bank of America “appears to be conditioning access to its services on customers having the bank’s preferred religious or political views.”

The letter says that the company’s “discriminatory behavior” is a “serious threat to free speech and religious freedom, is potentially illegal, and is causing political and regulatory backlash.”

“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 AGs wrote.

“We are deeply concerned that Bank of America is willing to cooperate in the infringement of its customers’ constitutional and privacy rights to help federal law enforcement surveil and target millions of conservative Americans, many of whom live in our states,” the letter adds.

By de-banking customers, the company is “exposing itself to numerous legal risks” and is “opening itself up to potential legal liability under consumer protection and antidiscrimination laws, and creating substantial regulatory and political risk from states that are already taking action to stop de-banking.”

The AGs noted that “Bank of America also has a corporate culture that discourages viewpoint diversity and chills certain political and religious speech.”

“The 2023 Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index gave Bank of America a score of only 8% for how it protects free speech and religious liberty throughout all aspects of its business,” they wrote. “For example, Bank of America can also deny online banking access to anyone who—in its subjective determination—promotes ‘intolerance’ or ‘hate.’ It excludes religious charities from its charitable giving and employee charitable match programs. 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.'”

“You are the second-largest bank in the country and have nearly 15% of all domestic deposits. You appear to be using this power to punish conservative and religious customers by handing their data over to federal law enforcement and even cancelling their accounts,” the AGs added. “This not only undermines free speech and religious freedom, but also is potentially illegal and could lead to investigations, litigation, regulation, and political backlash.”

Bank of America’s media relationship representative, Bill Halldin, denied the de-banking of religious and conservative individuals, saying, “Religious beliefs are not a factor in any account-closing decision.”

“We are proud to provide banking services to non-profit organizations affiliated with diverse faith communities throughout the United States,” he said.

Those who signed the letter alongside Kobach include the attorney generals from Mississippi, Idaho, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Texas, Montana, Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, and Nebraska.

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