Big banks are showing they love two things: Communist cash and discriminating against Constitutionally-protected industries.
Multinational corporate banks including JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup told the Biden administration to back off sanctioning Russia, according to a Bloomberg report. The crippling measure would have booted Russia from the SWIFT financial messaging system, a global payments system used by 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries.
The White House announced that certain Russian banks would be expelled from SWIFT, but spared energy export transactions. These are the same banks that refused to do business with U.S. oil and gas companies in a policy described as “redlining.” It’s the same financial discrimination these banks use against firearm-related businesses.
SWIFT, or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a system that financial institutions use to transfer funds quickly. Instead of denying the easy movement of Russian petro dollars, corporate banks that want to deny American gun rights by choking off access to financial services to gun companies want to keep the spigot wide open for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as he indiscriminately attacks civilian population centers in Ukraine.
The duplicitous policies are as much mind-blowing as they are revealing. Corporate banks want to finance a brutal and wildly-unpopular attack on a sovereign nation that is prompting even historically neutral countries like Switzerland to sanction Russia while at the same time use American-taxpayer-funded protections to discriminate and decimate the American firearm manufacturers – the arsenal of freedom.
Dumping Russia from the system would have helped isolate Russia financially from financing their unprovoked attack on their neighbor Ukraine. Big banks, though, wanted to shield their investments and keep the money flowing to Russia. These are the same banks that openly discriminate against U.S. firearm-related businesses through policies denying banking services because they disagree with lawful firearm ownership.
That’s a right protected by the Constitution. In other words, that’s freedom. These corporate banks that roll in Communist cash want to use their financial leverage to force antigun policies in the United States, including enacting age-based gun bans that would deny lawful firearm ownership to adults under 21 and enact a ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), the most-popular selling centerfire rifle in America.
It’s time Congress acts on the Fair Access to Banking Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) as S. 563 and by Congressman Andy Barr (R-Ky.) as H.R. 1729. This legislation would ensure that banking and credit decisions by financial institutions are based on individualized creditworthiness and impartial risk-based standards. Additionally, they would prevent financial institutions with over $10 billion in assets from accessing taxpayer-subsidized government programs, including access to the Federal Reserve Discount Window Lending Programs, Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) and Automated Clearing House Network, when they are at the same time denying banking services to legal businesses under federal law.
Taking American Tax Dollars
In short, banks that choose to discriminate against firearm businesses would lose their taxpayer-funded resources. These corporate behemoths gladly took not billions, but trillions of dollars – subsidized by U.S. tax dollars – to stabilize U.S. and international banks. The Federal Reserve made $7.7 trillion in loans to financial institutions, a figure that “dwarf[s] the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP],” according to one report.
JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs Group, and Morgan Stanley all took loans totaling more than $13 billion with no strings attached. These are the same corporate banking institutions that are telling President Joe Biden not to interfere with the cash flow to and from Russia as its forces murder Ukrainian civilians while at the same time would disarm Americans by refusing firearm companies banking services.
Banks are showing their true colors and it’s nothing less than green. They’ll back demagogues over democracy, politics over people, and most of all, Communist cash flow over freedom, no matter which freedoms they crush.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.