Many of those worried that the Big Techs are curtailing free speech in the United States see another potential threat looming: social justice. Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis is one of those people.
Yesterday Patronis wrote to the Commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Russell weigel after reading reports from banks nationally choosing to withhold funding and services from businesses deemed unacceptable by what Patronis has called “the growing ‘culture of cancellation’ movement. The CFO’s letter encouraged the Bureau to analyze whether a Florida chartered bank that politically discriminates against a specific industry group is engaged in “non-compliant banking practice” that merits issuance. ‘a prohibition and discontinuance order.
Patronis wrote to Weigel: âIn recent months, major financial institutions have refused to extend financing and other services to entities such as gunmakers, energy companies and others deemed “ too conservative ” or not aligned with the vision of the “ awake left ”. society. In short, the “culture of cancellation” has reached our financial markets and the result – the arbitrary selection of winners and losers – is bad news for our capitalist system. “
Nationally, banks are increasingly using social justice as a criterion for approving credit and investment strategies.
Big banks, like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase pass on investment opportunities with legal firms like gun makers, fossil fuel companies and even, private prisons based solely on what the bank sees as moral, not whether it’s a sound investment or not – a practice some call discriminatory.
According to the Wall Street newspaperGoldman Sachs pledged in late 2019 to stop funding projects that directly support coal mining and oil exploration in the Arctic.
Bank of America, according to Fox News, has stopped lending money “to arms manufacturers who manufacture military-type weapons”. According to Bloomberg, he also stopped doing business with private prisons.
But social justice banking doesn’t stop with big business. Everyday consumers see their purchases literally âcanceledâ at the cash register.
Electronic payment conglomerates, including PayPal, Square and Apple Pay, have banned the sale and transaction of firearms through their systems. Customers trying to legally buy guns have had their purchase refused by PayPal, Discover, and others in the middle of the purchase.
âIf you want to have a consistent set of values ââthat you stand for, they must be reflected in your acceptable use policy,â said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said to New York Times. “Businesses, and by extension their management teams and CEOs, have a moral obligation to try to be a force for good.”
“Bank financial activism is by far one of the biggest emerging threats to Second Amendment rights,” Philip watson, founder of Washington Public Relations and supporter of the Second Amendment, said Fox news. âThe federal government allows the financial sector to receive huge amounts of federal funds; however, those same funds free up their balance sheets enough to discriminate and play politics. “
In early January, just before the Trump administration left office, the Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized a controversial rule prohibiting large banks from dismissing companies because of their industry and made illegal rejection of a client for reasons other than financial risk
Democrats and bank lobbyists have cried foul over the last-minute rule and vowed to kill it.
In a story in The hill, Greg Baer, chairman and chief executive officer of the Bank Policy Institute, a research and advocacy group for major US banks, said: âThe rule lacks both logic and legal basis, it ignores the basic facts about the functioning of the bank, and it will compromise the safety and soundness of the banks to which it applies. “
The rule is designed to go into effect on April 1, however, Biden’s new interim controller will likely delay it until the Biden Administration OCC can get rid of it all.
Patronis’ letter does not reflect the desire for a new Florida OFR rule. Instead, Patronis asked Weigel to “analyze whether a Florida chartered bank that politically discriminates against a specific industry group is engaged in an ‘unhealthy banking practice’ that justifies issuance of a cease and desist order, as provided in Section 655.033, Florida Statutes. “