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Bank of America will stop lending to ‘assault-style’ gunmakers

Bank of America has said it will stop lending to gun manufacturers who make "assault-style" weapons. (Mike Mozart/Flickr)
April 11, 2018

Bank of America has added its name to the growing list of companies who have taken a stance in the recent gun control debate. A company executive said in an interview Tuesday that the bank will no longer work with gun companies that manufacture “assault-style” weapons intended for public or non-military use, according to KMOV in St. Louis.

Bank of America Vice Chair Anne Finucane said the company wants to “contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings,” and that Bank of American wanted to help stop the violence following the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Finucane did not elaborate on what companies would be affected by Bank of America’s move, though the second-biggest U.S. bank has clients including Vista Outdoor, Remington and Sturm Ruger.

She was also not able to expand on what she meant by “assault-style.” Proponents of gun control regularly use the blanket term to include weapons such as the AR-15, which has been used in mass shootings in the past, though firearm experts stress that the AR-15 is not defined as an assault rifle.

“We do have a few manufacturers of military-style firearms. We’re in discussions with them. We have let them know … it’s not our intent to underwrite or finance military-style firearms on a go-forward basis,” Finucane explained in a Bloomberg interview.

Finucane also made it clear that Bank of America’s stance on the issue was non-negotiable.

“These are clients we have enjoyed a relationship with,” she said. “There are those I think will reduce their portfolios and we’ll work with them and others that will choose to do something else.”

Bank of America is now the second bank in the country to force its clients to change their business practices. Last month, Citigroup also implemented new restrictions on the sale of firearms by its business customers. The bank prohibits its clients to sell firearms to customers who have not passed background checks and who are under the age of 21. It also prohibits the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

At the time of its announcement, Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat explained that the new company policies applied to “small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners.”

Corbat wrote in an email to employees: “We don’t have the perfect solution to supporting our Constitution while keeping our children and grandchildren safe. But we shouldn’t let that stop us from doing our part.”