Oklahoma bans more than a dozen woke banks from doing business with the state
Fox Business, 3 May 2023
State will not do business with banks ‘beholden to social goals that override their fiduciary duties,’ Oklahoma state treasurer says
Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ is planning to announce the sweeping measure Wednesday morning which represents one of the most aggressive actions any state has taken against banks pursuing so called environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. The move ultimately blocks the banks from managing billions of dollars in Oklahoma pensions, investments and other state entities.
“The energy sector is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy, providing jobs for our residents and helping drive economic growth,” Russ said in a statement. “It is essential for us to work with financial institutions that are focused on free-market principles and not beholden to social goals that override their fiduciary duties.”
The ban impacts some of the largest asset managers and banks in the country including BlackRock, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and State Street. BlackRock alone reported in April that it has a staggering $9.1 trillion in assets under management.
As of 2022, Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry and its component sectors sustained 4,000 businesses, produced $19 billion in state gross domestic product, provided state households with $16.5 billion in earnings and created 85,050 jobs. (Mario Tama/Getty Images / Getty Images)
Oklahoma’s actions come three months after Russ sent a letter and questionnaire to dozens of banks and financial institutions on Feb. 1, asking about their climate and energy investment policies. Russ noted at the time that BlackRock manages more than 60% of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.
Under a 2022 law passed by the state’s legislature last year, the state’s treasurer is mandated to probe the investment policies of banks it does business with and assemble a list of companies determined to be engaged in a boycott of the energy sector. Russ’ office said it received almost 160 responses which helped inform the decision Wednesday.
8) ‘Woke’ bank put on notice: 19 US states threaten legal consequences if JPMorgan Chase doesn’t stop ‘persistently discriminating’
Daily Mail, 3 May 2023
A group of 19 GOP state attorneys general are putting JPMorgan Chase on notice for alleged discrimination against religious and other conservative organizations, which contradicts the company’s commitment to ‘inclusivity,’ they say.
In a letter to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Tuesday, the state attorneys general led by Daniel Cameron of Kentucky allege the company has ‘persistently discriminated’ against customers due to ‘religious or political affiliation.’
Chase claims that it opposes ‘discrimination in any form,’ yet the GOP state leaders allege it has repeatedly targeted religious liberty organizations by shutting down their checking accounts and refusing them other key banking services because of their political leanings, a practice now known as ‘de-banking.’
The attorneys general point to Chase’s alleged ‘de-banking’ of a religious liberty organization last year – the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF) – with no clear explanation.
NCRF, which was founded by the former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, is a known ‘multi-faith’ nonprofit.
Brownback said in October that he was ‘stunned’ that the bank had closed NCRF’s checking account and wouldn’t provide a sufficient answer as to the reasons behind the closure.
According to the letter, eventually a Chase employee contacted NCRF saying the bank would restore the account, but only if the organization provided a list of their donors, a list of political candidates it intended to support and reasoning behind the endorsements.
‘The bank’s brazen attempt to condition critical services on a customer passing some unarticulated religious or political litmus test flies in the face of Chase’s anti- discrimination policies. Worse, it flies in the face of basic American values of fairness and equality,’ the attorneys general say in the letter to Dimon.
In addition, there have been at least two other instances where Chase ‘has not extended its openness and inclusivity to everyone,’ the state AGs say.
Family Council, a pro-life group, had its account terminated from a credit card processor owned by Chase in 2021 after it was considered ‘High Risk’ by the company.
WePay, which is also owned by Chase, reportedly failed to provide ticket services for the Defense of Liberty organization, a conservative group, in 2021 because the event was showcasing Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son.
That action prompted the Missouri state treasurer to threaten cutting off business with the bank and as a result of the pressure, Chase restored the organization’s account.