Editors Note: Initially, we had been following up on the Bank of America’s announcement that it had hired 1,000 small business bankers as part of its latest goals. Now, though, we received word that there’s another brouhaha that’s becoming both heated and controversial. We will explore that today and will follow up on its small business banker efforts at a later date.
Does whether or not your banks do business with gun makers play any kind of role in whether or not you continue to use the financial entity? And how would your decision making process be altered if you discovered a mayor pressured your bank into ending its business relationship with gunmakers?
Murder Capital of the Nation
The murder capitol of the nation, and also the one the with the tightest gun regulations, has a mayor – perhaps you’ve heard of him, Ram Emanuel? He is a proud member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and now, he’s planning to shove his beliefs down the throats of the nation’s biggest banks that do business with any kind of gun manufacturer. It’s true; he’s turning up the pressure for these global financial entities, even as his city continues to rack up the murders. It’s interesting to note that he’s a member of the group mentioned above (and note the word “illegal” in the group’s name) and it’s illegal guns that are killing the citizens on his city’s streets and yet, he’s more focused on the legal financial goings-on with banks that do business with companies that are operating legally and providing weapons – again, legally – and under the 2nd Amendment.
The question is, should the banks heed any kind of warning from this mayor who, frankly, has become a bit of a laughing stock in is own state? Even more importantly, how much influence will your bank’s decision to either continue or halt its relationships with gun manufacturers have on your ultimate decision on who you bank with?
Two Letters, Two Banks
So far, Emanuel has sent letters to just two major financial institutions, TD Bank and Bank of America. Both offer lines of credit to gun makers, but Emanuel is now strongly suggesting that they stop lending money to the manufacturers if they don’t come out for new gun restrictions. He’s requesting CEOs to demand gun manufacturers that they do business with to “find common ground with the vast majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban.”
The letter written to TD CEO Bharat Masrani gives us insight into what Emanuel hopes to accomplish.
TD Bank currently aids the gun manufacturing industry through a $60 million revolving line of credit with Smith & Wesson, a gun manufacturer that produces the AR-15 – an assault weapon that was used by James Holmes to kill 12 people and wound 58 in a crowded movie theater in Aurora. I ask you to use your influence to push this company to find common ground with the vast majority of Americans who support a military weapons and ammunition ban and comprehensive background checks.
Bank of America
Meanwhile, Bank of America does business with Sturn, Ruger & Co. and as a result, Emanuel sent a similarly worded letter to that bank’s CEO Brian Moynihan. He opted for a more personal approach in what some say is a low blow,
Doing business with gun manufacturers might benefit the banks’ bottom line, but they put our police officers, our children and our communities at risk,
the letter read. Unfortunately, Bank of America has yielded to political pressures in the past. And it stands to reason, too, that those who support the 2nd Amendment will be looking for new banking partners while those who follow Emanuel’s twisted reasoning will remain loyal to the bank. One company manufacturer of gun accessories, McMillan Group International, is said to have received word from Bank of America that it should consider finding a new bank. This company has been a Bank of America customer for more than a decade and as it says, it’s never missed a single payment nor has it ever overdrawn its account; yet, here it is, being forced out. It has a $60 million line of credit with Bank of America.
So Emanuel, who, again, is mayor of a city with the highest murder rate in the nation, and yet he’s using political power to “convince” (others use the word “bully”) at least two of the nation’s banks to break ties with companies that are operating legally in the U.S. And let’s not forget he has the backing of both the White House and Diane Feinstein. On Sunday, Feinstein took to the airwaves in her efforts to “dry up the supply of these weapons over time.”
Is this what we can come to expect? It’s no secret that politics and money go hand in hand and often in the most unethical of ways; but now it’s stooped to an entirely new level. If you’re thinking it’s time for new regulations, don’t hold your breath. We have dozens of new regulations currently in various stages in Congress that are gathering dust and these are important laws, too, that should have long since been passed or floored. Instead, we have a group that’s focused on nonstarters and bipartisanship.
Of course, Emanuel can’t force a bank to bow to his demands. So far, neither bank has responded. Emanuel has been successful on some fronts, though. He recently convinced city officials to divest $5 billion in pension fund investments from companies that manufacture guns. He’s not alone, either. Several states, including New York and California, have both managed to stop pension investments in companies that do business with the gun industry, according to various media reports.
What are your thoughts on this controversial topic? Should politicians delegate who banks do business with? Will a bank’s decision on whether or not to do business with gun manufacturers sway your own decisions on who you bank with? Share your thoughts with us.