Bank of America wants to make sure you don’t think that politics had anything at all to do with its decision to stop underwriting makers of “military-style firearms” after the Parkland shooting. Back when they announced the move following the Parkland high school shooting, we predicted that cutting off funding from gun companies that make “assault weapons” would have precisely zero effect on the number of spree shootings in the United states. So it’s good to hear the Bank of America Corp exec leading the no-guns-for-us campaign acknowledge that fact.
“We’re not solving the problem,” said Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s vice chairman, speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in London Tuesday morning. She noted that key issues around mental health and gun ownership are matters of public policy outside the bank’s purview.
Of course BofA isn’t solving the problem. They never expected to make even the slightest dent in the rate of “gun violence” in America. The decision to shun gun makers was private sector gun control implemented entirely as a corporate image-burnishing move to show how concerned and caring the banking giant is.
Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that politics had anything do with it, OK?
She also commented that the decision—which was made by Bank of America’s CEO Bryan Moynihan and Finucane (BAC, -0.50%), who also heads the company’s environmental, social, and governance committee—was not political, but aimed at “lowering the temperature of fear” among employees.
Got that? The nation’s second-largest bank did it for their employees.
“We did it because we felt fear among employees,” she said, adding that the bank had 150 employees and thousands of customers who had been personally affected by America’s scourge of gun violence.
They were scared. And now that BofA has announced that they won’t be lending to makers of weapons of war for civilian use, they feel much better.
It’s the same laughable rationale United CEO Oscar Munoz trotted out when he was asked by shareholders why his airline cancelled its NRA affiliate program.
Plus, the new policy is good for business, right?
Finucane said the move has cost the bank some business—both of military-style gun makers as well as of those who took issue with Bank of America’s decision—but she’s pretty sure it has also brought in some new customers as well.
Well, as long as she’s pretty sure.