JP Morgan Chase and Company, the largest bank in the United States, is again being accused of discriminatory practices in service to customers after closing accounts.
In a letter first published by the Wall Street Journal dated May 2, attorneys for the complainants sent a demand letter detailing numerous instances of alleged discrimination and requesting Chase immediately cease religious and political based discrimination against its customers.
It follows a similar letter previously published by the Wall Street Journal, sent to the bank in March, in which Treasurers of Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana and Kansas detailed similar instances of the bank canceling accounts with political motives. The letter requests that the bank participates in the Viewpoint Diversity Score Index, which was refused. JP Morgan did participate in the survey in 2022, at which time the bank received a low rating of 15 percent.
Among the accounts closed without warning are the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF), which the bank allegedly refused to re-instate without NCRF voluntarily disclosing detailed donor information as well as supported political party criteria.
Chase also refused to process payments for a Defense of Liberty-hosted Republican event, citing anti-hate policies.
The letter also claims that answers to questions regarding these closures were unanswered, with employees instructed to provide no information and allegations JP Morgan asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ignore a proposal for the bank to be required to disclose its account termination policies.
JP Morgan filed a motion with the SEC, asking the proposal to transparently define account closure policies be excluded from an upcoming shareholder meeting on the grounds that the proposal ‘transcends ordinary business matters.’
It’s not the first time JP Morgan has found itself facing discrimination allegations. In 2017, JP Morgan settled a discrimination lawsuit that alleged the bank had actively discriminated in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act on the basis of national origin and race.
Settled for $53 million dollars, the suit alleged JP Morgan charged black and hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and fees than applied to caucasian borrowers.
In 2018, JP Morgan settled a similar lawsuit in which black financial advisors employed by the bank claimed they faced discrimination. Settled for $19.5 million; the settlement included provisions that JP Morgan place $4.5 million dollars to the creation of an internal fund for recruitment, bias training and branch review processes.
According to Insider, JP Morgan has denied all allegations of discrimination.
“We have never and would never exit a client relationship due to their political or religious affiliation,” a JP Morgan representative said.