Comptroller of the Currency’s Proposed Rule Would End Anti-Gun Banking Discrimination

Bank of America

Shutterstock

By Larry Keane

The days of corporate banking overlords forcing discriminatory policies on lawful industries is, hopefully, coming to an end. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a proposed rule that would end the practice of unaccountable banking executives denying firearm industry businesses banking services to force gun control even as they take advantage of the taxpayer-funded insurance protections.

The proposed rule is about fair and equal access to financial services – or making the phrase on the dollar bill, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private” mean what it says. It’s overdue and promises to reverse the corporate virtue signaling by nameless and faceless finance executives who foist their personal gun control views on the public by choking off essential banking services.

Corporate America was attempting to do precisely what the Obama administration was chastised for doing with the illegal “Operation Choke Point” that directed financial institutions to discriminate against members of the firearm industry, and other legal industries.

The proposed rule would ensure fair access to banking services provided by national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations, according to a press release from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The proposal would codify more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should provide access to services, capital, and credit based on the risk assessment of individual customers, rather than broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers.

What It Does

The proposed rule evens the playing field. It stops corporate banks from picking winners and losers based on executives’ personal politics. The rule would put into force protections that were passed by Congress and signed into law with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Those laws made the Currency Comptroller responsible for “… fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers by, the institutions and other persons subject to its jurisdiction.”

This was specifically included after banks were bailed out by taxpayers in 2008 to the tune of nearly $500 billion. Lawmakers agreed then that banks that were buoyed by American taxes would have to be on the hook to provide fair access to those essential banking services.  They couldn’t play favorites and pick winners and losers based on shifting political favorites.

The rule will apply to the largest banks in the country that may exert significant pricing power or influence over sectors of the national economy. It would require those banks to make their products and services available to all customers in the community it serves, based on consideration of quantitative, impartial, risk-based standards established by the bank.

In other words, banks would be required to approve or deny their services based on merit and creditworthiness of individual borrowers. That would remove the “reputational risk” mask that banks hide behind when they force businesses to adopt gun control policies that are beyond the scope of federal, state and local laws or lose access to banking services.

Instead of subjective standards that shift like the winds, banks would be required to objectively apply standards of creditworthiness, ability to pay, or other quantitative, impartial, risk-based reasons.

What It Doesn’t Do

The proposed rule doesn’t force banks to do business with businesses. If a business is over-leveraged, doesn’t have the necessary assets, credit or a business model that would demonstrate their ability to pay debts, it doesn’t get a free pass.

“Banks retain the right to choose what businesses they undertake but if a bank provides a service, it cannot deny that service to a customer except on the basis of an objective analysis of the riskiness of that client,” wrote Brian P. Brooks, the Acting Comptroller of the Currency in an op-ed.

Why It’s Needed

Financial discrimination against the firearm industry started during the Obama administration. Operation Chokepoint formalized the discrimination by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop financial institutions from offering services to some regulated industries in an attempt to choke off banking services. This was done by those federal agencies labelling gun and ammunition businesses as risky businesses without any evidence or justification.

The campaign against the firearm industry “… was real, and it exceeded legal limits. Overwhelming evidence, in the form of more than 900 pages of newly unsealed emails and depositions, proves government officials illegally targeted lawful businesses in an ideological crusade based on personal disdain,” according an analysis by American Banker.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) was dogged in his pursuit to uncover and repudiate this corruption. After it was revealed the Obama administration was illegally pushing this discriminatory agenda and was forced to abandon it, corporate banks began doing it for themselves. They privatized Operation Choke Point.

Citibank corporate gun control

Bigstock

Citigroup announced in 2018 they wouldn’t do business with firearm businesses unless they adopted their policies that went beyond federal and state laws. That included putting in place age-based gun bans for young adults.

Bank of American announced they would end business with companies that manufactured and sold modern sporting rifles. Wells Fargo initially bucked the trend, but this year announced they were severing ties with gun businesses. A growing number of other “too big to fail” banks have followed suit, often in response to pressure from social justice advocates.

This was as alarming to Congress as it was the firearm industry. It’s the role of elected officials who are accountable to voters to set public policy. That’s not the domain of corporate executives in high-rise buildings.

U.S. Sen. U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), along with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), introduced the NSSF-supported Freedom Financing Act (S. 821), which would prevent financial institutions from accessing taxpayer-subsidized federal programs which allow them to survive and prosper when they are at the same time denying banking services to lawful industries. Rep. Roger Willams (R-Texas) introduced a House of Representatives companion bill, H.R. 2079.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has continuously applied pressure to banking CEOs in hearings that their discriminatory practices were intolerable. Just two weeks ago, he said in his opening statement at committee hearing . . .

“It is vitally important that our country’s financial institutions, especially the largest, not deny credit financing based on political preferences related to firearms, oil and gas, or others. Lending decisions should be based on creditworthiness, and should not target specific industries, especially as we work to restore our economy to pre-pandemic strength.”

Sen. Crapo was elated at the news of the OCC’s proposed rule.

“I commend the OCC for reaffirming that banks must not deny services or limit fair access to legal businesses and individuals,” Sen. Crapo wrote in a statement. “Business lending decisions should be based on creditworthiness, rather than politics or political pressure.  This has long been a priority of mine, especially since the inception of Operation Choke Point, and I appreciate the critically important work the OCC has done on this issue.”

The proposed rule will right a wrong and allow banks do what they do best. They can help businesses grow based on their success, not get caught up in the shifting winds of political debates.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

comments

  1. avatar d says:

    Any good from this will be reversed from the Hoax in Chief once she takes office.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Indeed. OCC is an appointed, not elected position, within the Treasury Dept. A simple EA/EO will suffice to both stop OCC from implementing the change and institute Choke Point again. In addition, Senate legislation will die in the House for the next four years…and even if the Senate Legislation could get out of Congress, and signed by the new President, the legislation can be overturned in the next Congress.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        I voted for that senile Hoax in Chief. And a Ho, Camel-Toe

        That doesn’t make me a moron, right?

        Right?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “That doesn’t make me a moron, right?”

          Depends on whether you are talking about the act of voting, or the boxes you checked, I guess.

          BTW, “HiC and Ho” doesn’t have the same pizzazz as Joe and Ho.(JoHo?)

        2. avatar d says:

          NO, voting for the hoax in chief does not make you a moron. You were a moron long before the point.

        3. avatar frank speak says:

          do you really want an answer?….disappointed more didn’t see the deception at work here…

        4. avatar Daniel Hoover says:

          You voted to have your guns confiscated and being stripped of your 2A rights. Your tax payer dollars also bailed out these Banks in 2008. Shouldn’t we have a say in who that can and can’t do business with?
          Your an IDIOT

        5. avatar neiowa says:

          enuf was a FREAKING moron LONG before Biden’s election fraud.

    2. avatar Debbie W. says:

      Everything you see the democRat Party doing to the Gun Industry, Gun Owners along with the democRat Party concocting slander and libel to remove a duly elected POTUS to election fraud is nothing new. All their sleaze comes from the democRat Party Jim Crow Playbook that they used to disenfranchise Black Americans.
      All that’s missing today are cotten fields, dirt floor shacks, fire hoses and a noose.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Get with the times. Put them on the welfare plantation and they’ll vote Democrat forever. Even from beyond the grave.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Maybe this should have been proposed in 2017 then instead of a lame duck november.

  2. avatar Lunknard says:

    I heard this nickname recently: “Heels-up Harris”.

    Not sure what it means or to whom it applies.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “I heard this nickname recently: “Heels-up Harris”.”

      Ever enjoyed a woman with her legs on your shoulders?

      (“Head over heels, heels over head…;) )

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Kind of how I visualized the term “ankle biter”…

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      The orfice of the Hoe in chief of the United States.

    3. avatar Daniel Hoover says:

      I just call them Joe Hiden and Camel toe Harris

  3. avatar Red in CO says:

    I still don’t understand why these big banks are even relevant. Aside from the fact that they are dinosaurs who are impossible to work with compared to small banks, they’re also absolute scum. BoA and Wells Fargo in particular have gotten caught pulling so much shady shit over the years that I find it genuinely baffling that any customer is still willing to trust them with their hard earned finances.

    1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      With the federal reserve system we have there is really only one bank in the US, the Federal reserve banks. All other banks are branches and subsidiaries of that bank.

      This rule is essentially meaningless. The next administration, whether it’s Sniffin Joe and the Ho in January or someone else in 4 years, can appoint any stooge they want who will change it.

      What we really need it to end the fed and end fractional reserve banking which is nothing more than legalized fraud.

  4. avatar Prndll says:

    “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…”

    “Sen. Crapo”

    “Operation Choke Point”

    Lol….sounds like a joke from the ‘office if the president elect’

    Joke in the Ho
    (and their monster taco’s too)

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Might be a little off subject, but my favorite president is Andy Jackson. If I remember my history correctly he is the only president that settled the national debt and did away with the Federal Reserve Bank. He hated bankers. He also made it safe for my ancestors to settle N. Florida, Southern Georgia and Alabama after the War for Independence and 1812. So there’s that. We’re still here.

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      Coolidge got pretty close.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      His victory at New Orleans is also probably the most underrated victory in American military history.

      The current narrative often pushed online is that the war of 1812 was either a tie or a defeat. Neither of which are true, it was in fact an American victory when you look at the bigger picture, and this is proven by the British own statements.

      Compare and contrast the history at the time and today, and it makes sense.

      Ever since the end of the revolution, Britain’s strategy in N America was a policy of containment towards America. Keep America confined East of the Mississippi and influence internal. So Britain could continue to dominate the continent and push around America when it saw fit.

      After the war, that policy completely changed. Britain abandoned this strategy and focused to policy of simply defending Canada from American invasion, and ceding the continent to American influence.

      A big factor in that decision was the crushing defeat at New Orleans. The British realized American westward expansion was not going to stop.

      Considering a modest context, let’s say America (as the current global empire) fights a war in which it wins most of the battles, but then abandons the region and cedes it to a rival power, particularly after a crushing military defeat, the war would definitely go down as an American defeat.

      Just wanted to put this out there as I take the anti Americanism taught in modern history as a threat to our freedom.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        You’d get an argument in Canada…they celebrate this war more than we do…the only significance of the Battle of New Orleans…which was fought well after the war was over…was to make Andy Jackson a national figure….

        1. avatar Ron says:

          And they’d be wrong in that aspect.

          These days the mantra of “fought after the war was over”, seemingly has far more weight today then it did at the time. Keep in mind, global populations have been able to receive relatively quick results of battles since the Civil War. Remember they had the Telegraph.

          It’s been several generations since information moved at a week/month basis. Battles being fought after the war was over wasn’t uncommon.

          Consider the alternative, the British win the battle and take New Orleans. They would likely decide to keep it, and having resoundingly defeated the American army, would not feel compelled to give it up or back down on their containment policy.

          That’s a pretty big deal going forward in the 19th century.

        2. avatar Anymouse says:

          1) The electronic telegraph wouldn’t be invented for 20 years or deployed widely for 40. It would be 50 years before a reliable transatlantic was installed, which is what would be needed to.reach the negotiations in Ghent. Even then, only the Americans would have had access to the static telegraph chain. Brits would have needed to capture telegraph stations and somehow trick Americans into forwarding their messages.
          2) The Treaty of Ghent agreed to prewar borders, so the Americans would keep New Orleans regardless of the victor, unless the Brits decided they wouldn’t honor the treaty.

          The US victory was impressive with 20:1 casualties. It may have discredited the Brits to their Native American allies and deterred future British aggression, but it had no effect on the War of 1812.

        3. avatar Ron says:

          I meant they had the Telegraph in the civil war. As an example of how long we’ve had relatively quick information dissemination. Before the telegraph it’s thousands of years delivering written accounts/orders by hand, by foot and horse back.

          What I’m saying is, is looking back and thinking how silly and pointless it is to fight a battle after the war is over is a showing of ignorance and arrogance.

      2. avatar Docduracoat says:

        I’m the only person in America who is still angry at the British for burning Washington in the War of 1812.
        Thank goodness Dolly Madison was able to run out of the building with the big portrait of George Washington!

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Thank goodness Dolly Madison was able to run out of the building with the big portrait of George Washington!”

          And all those snack cakes and Zingers !!

      3. avatar Miner49er says:

        “let’s say America (as the current global empire) fights a war in which it wins most of the battles, but then abandons the region and cedes it to a rival power, particularly after a crushing military defeat, the war would definitely go down as an American defeat.”

        A perfect description of America’s adventures in Southeast Asia, courtesy of the Republicans from Dwight Eisenhower to Richard Nixon’s ‘peace with honor’.

    3. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      Bank of the US. There were two different Banks of the US in early US history. The federal reserve was not created until 1913 and it was far more expansive and controlling than any 19th century national bank.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    The daze of discrimination against gunz will be over? Not with Dims in power…don’t bogard that joint.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    This rule/order is a hollow victory.

    First of all, what actual “teeth” does it have? Answer: none. It amounts to nothing more than a formal declaration that fedzilla will wave a naughty finger at banks who choose to discriminate against any disfavored endeavor — and then probably smile and pat them on the back when no one is looking, or even smile and pat them on the back when people are looking since the legacy media will bury the story and the Technology behemoths will sensor any reference to it.

    Second (assuming that Biden/Harris take over), a Democrat controlled Justice Department will be all too happy to “exercise prosecutorial discretion” and refuse to hold banks accountable when they discriminate against firearm businesses.

  8. avatar Dude says:

    None of this matters if the dems win the senate. They’ll immediately grant amnesty to 20 million illegal aliens and do away with the electoral college. Swing states will be history. Every campaign going forward will look like Joe’s. They won’t have to campaign or answer serious questions. The media will cheer and fawn over them.

    1. avatar Austin is not Texas says:

      “do away with the electoral college” A lot easier to say than do. It takes a 2/3rds majority in both houses of Congress, and signature of the POTUS to send an amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification. It then takes a 2/4ths majority of the states to ratify. Hard to believe 67 US Senators, 291 members of the HOR and 67 state legislatures would sign off on an amendment that would allow the states of New York and California plus the city of Chicago to elect the President.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        I don’t see it happening soon either, but they continue to promote the idea. They’ll continue to work toward it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Tech dominance over our lives is just beginning. Note the difference in Big Tech election interference between 2016 and 2020.

      2. avatar Rick says:

        That’s 3/4’s of the states (38), not 2/4’s. that’s why the ERA still hasn’t been ratified, don’t have 38 states approving, and it was sent to the states in 1972.

  9. avatar . says:

    A pinging cell phone in a gun shop is not a good idea. To protect you and the other customers leave them at home or in your vehicle.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      To the commenter known as “.”,

      Unless you have never used a credit card to purchase anything firearm oriented, never drove near a gun store with a cell phone powered up, and never used the Internet to research, shop, and/or comment on firearms and inalienable rights, fedzilla already knows who you are and where you stand on our inalienable right to keep and bear arms.

      At this point, I believe a more fruitful strategy is to ensure that fedzilla knows:

      1) About 150 million people in the United States have something like 500 million firearms and tens-of-billions of rounds of ammunition.

      2) About 50 million people in the United States are very serious about their inalienable right to keep and bear arms and lobby/vote accordingly.

      3) About 5 million people in the United States are dead-serious about their inalienable right to keep and bear arms and will act accordingly if/when necessary.

  10. avatar Debbie W. says:

    “Comptroller of the Currency’s Proposed Rule Would End Anti-Gun Banking Discrimination”

    Good news.

    Why did it take four years?

    Where the hell was our Bigly Pro-Second Amendment President during all this time?

    The liar in chief could have solved this with a single phone call his first day on the job.

  11. avatar MAGA says:

    If Bank of America was a person, it would be in jail. I hated them even before they threw in their lot with anti-gunners.

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