Thursday, July 18, 2024

Kennedy, Cramer introduce bill to prevent banks from discriminating against law-abiding businesses

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Fair Access to Banking Act to prevent banks from denying services to law-abiding businesses for political purposes. 

“Law-abiding Americans should have access to financial services without threat from woke political posturing. The Fair Access to Banking Act would ensure that banks rely on impartial risk assessments—rather than politicized discrimination—when providing their services. This bill would stop banks from becoming advocacy groups that ignore their clients constitutional protections and business interests,” said Kennedy.

“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks and financial institutions are no exception. The Biden administration and their liberal base are weaponizing the financial system to defund, debank, or discredit industries they do not like. It is fundamentally unfair. Our bill imposes serious consequences for discriminatory decisions or de facto bans of legal industries,” said Cramer.

Background:

  • The Fair Access to Banking Act would protect Americans in the wake of major banks’ move to discriminate against legal businesses. Some of the largest U.S. banks have blocked businesses and consumers from accessing financial services based on political ideology. 
  • In 2020, five of the country’s largest banks announced they will not provide loans or credit to support oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even though Congress explicitly authorized it.
  • In 2021, JPMorgan Chase declared it would refuse financial services to coal producers, and Bank of America began a politically-motivated effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its financing activities by 2050, an effort directly targeting producers of reliable American energy. 
  • Similary discrimination has also targeted industries protected by the Second Amendment, with banks like Capital One including “ammunitions, firearms, or firearm parts” in its prohibited payments section. Payment services like Apple Pay and PayPal have denied their services for transactions involving firearms or ammunition.
  • In response to these developments, the last administration created the Fair Access Rule—which this legislation would codify—to prevent these and other acts of discrimination, but President Joe Biden paused the rule’s implementation. 

Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) also cosponsored the legislation.

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