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They rallied hundreds of thousands around the globe for gun reform and now some Parkland students are putting their lives on hold as they fight to keep their message in the spotlight, fanning out across the country to engage young activists. (April 10)
Another major U.S. bank has cut its exposure to the firearms industry, but a top rival is sticking to its gunmakers business, company officials said Friday.
JPMorgan Chase’s business relations with gunmakers “have come down significantly and are pretty limited,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake told reporters after the nation’s number one bank by assets issued its first-quarter earnings results.
“We do have robust risk management practices and policies associated with this, and we have had (them) for a number of years,” said Lake. “We continue to always refine them and work on them.”
Separately, Wells Fargo’s top financial executive said the nation’s No. 3 by assets had no immediate plans to end its business dealings with gunmaker clients.
This requires a legislative solution,” Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said during a conference call with reporters after the San Francisco-based bank issued its own first-quarter earnings.
“We’re not currently setting policy in our extensions of credit,” added Shrewsberry.
The financial institutions were the latest major U.S. banks to go public with any changes in gun industry business following the Feb. 14 mass shooting massacre that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Fla.
The massacre has spurred nationwide calls for stricter gun control, demands that have been opposed by the National Rifle Association and other organizations that oppose any weakening of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms.
Shrewsberry’s statement came weeks after a report by The Charlotte Observer said Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan had held talks with gunmakers who are clients of the bank after the Florida shooting.
Wells Fargo has been the gun industry’s top financier, Bloomberg News reported in March. The San Francisco-based bank has had a long business relationship with the National Rifle Association through other financial institutions taken over by Wells Fargo, the report said.
However, other U.S. banks have moved to cut or reduce ties with gun industry business clients in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Bank of America said it would stop lending to business clients that manufacture military-style weapons for civilian use.
“We do have a few manufacturers of military-style firearms” as clients, Anne Finucane, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank’s vice chairman, said during a Bloomberg TV interview. “We’re in discussions with them. We have let them know … it’s not our intention to underwrite or finance military-style weapons on a go-forward basis.”
Protesters explain why they’ve had #enough and give their thoughts on gun control during the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018.
Jarrad Henderson, USA TODAY
Asked whether Bank of America would adopt a similar stance toward retailers that sell military-style weapons, Finucane said such a decision would get into issues involving “civil liberties and the Second Amendment.”
“That’s a good public dialogue, but that’s a long way off,” said Finucane, whose bank is the nation’s second-largest by assets.
Citigroup announced new gun-related restrictions on its business partners in March, requiring them to bar firearm sales to customers under age 21, as well as those who have not passed a background check.
The New York-based bank said it is also barring clients from selling high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as so-called bump stocks that enable more rapid firing.
Amalgamated Bank announced similar restrictions last week, saying it would not invest any of its own assets “in companies that manufacture or distribute firearms, weaponry or ammunition.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc