WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) have co-sponsored S. 563, the Fair Access to Banking Act, which would prevent discrimination by banks and financial service providers against constitutionally-protected industries and law-abiding businesses, such as firearms manufacturers. The bill is led by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) and co-sponsored by 24 additional Senators.
“A difference in politics is not a valid reason to deny a law-abiding business access to capital,” Risch said. “The Fair Access to Banking Act will keep big banks from discriminating against entire industries – like energy production or gun manufacturing – because of political prejudice.”
“Over the last few years, we have seen a disturbing trend in the financial services industry involving the intentional discrimination of entire industries by the largest banks in the United States,” Crapo said. “As Chairman of the Banking Committee, I repeatedly pressed financial institutions and federal regulators for fair treatment of lawfully-operating companies, and I will continue to provide strong oversight on this issue. Companies and customers complying with federal and state law must have access to credit and services based on their creditworthiness, rather than social or political pressure.”
The Fair Access to Banking Act would:
- Penalize banks and credit unions with over $10 billion in total consolidated assets, or their subsidiaries, if they refuse to do business with any legally-compliant person who meets the criteria described above;
- Prevent payment card networks from discriminating against any qualified and legally-compliant person because of political or reputational considerations;
- Require qualified banks to provide written justification for why they are denying a person financial services; and
- Punish providers who fail to comply with the law by disqualifying them from using discount window lending programs, terminating their status as an insured depository institution or insured credit union, or imposing a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.
Full text of the bill can be found HERE.