April 10 (UPI) — Big banks defended their policies to lend — or not lend — to gun manufacturers during testimony Wednesday before the House financial services committee.
Democrats on the panel praised the leaders of Bank of America and Citigroup — two of seven in attendance — for their decisions to stop loaning money to gun makers after a teenager used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told lawmakers his bank made the move because some 100 company employees had been present in multiple mass shootings in recent years.
“These are based on us taking a look at what the right thing [is] for our teammates and the communities we serve,” he said.
Republicans, though, criticized the policies.
“There’s a lot of Americans who you serve [that] would greatly disagree with that policy,” Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., said to Moynihan. “It might play well in the East Coast, it might play well in California, [but] your bank is not the Bank of New York or California, it’s the Bank of America.”
The bank has given hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to gun makers. The company also partially owns Remington Outdoor Co., after converting more than $775 million in debt into equity.
Dimon said JPMorgan Chase would possibly consider policies like those at Bank of America and Citigroup.
“Everything we do with clients goes through a severe process of review, reputational risk, etc. We have a very small relationship with gun manufacturers,” Dimon said. “There are over 100,000 retailers out there who sell guns. Every single one that we do business with we do a thorough review. And if we think they are doing something wrong our risk committee stops doing business with them.