Bank of America discloses new action against gunmakers

Bank of America discloses new action against gunmakers
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CHARLOTTE, NC (Deon Roberts/The Charlotte Observer) - Bank of America plans to quit lending money to manufacturers of military-style guns sold for civilian use, a top executive said this week.

Anne Finucane, whose roles include overseeing the company's environmental and social strategies, made the comment in a Bloomberg Television interview.

"We want to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings," she said, adding that the bank has been in discussions with gun manufacturers. "We have let them know ... that it is not our intent to underwrite or finance military-style firearms on a go-forward basis."

The announcement comes after the Charlotte-based bank disclosed in February that it was reaching out to clients that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use "to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility."

That same month, 17 students and faculty were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla.

Since the shooting, New York-based Citigroup has announced a new policy for its retail clients, including a requirement that they not sell firearms to someone who hasn't passed a background check. In addition, they must not sell firearms to individuals under 21 or sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.

Asked Tuesday whether Bank of America might take any steps affecting retailers who sell military-style weapons, Finucane called it "a good public dialogue, but that's a ways off."

"The problem with that is that gets into civil liberties and Second Amendment," she said.

Those comments are similar to those made last month by Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan, who said his bank is in talks with gunmaker clients. But he also pushed back on the idea of preventing people from buying guns.

"I don't know if banks or credit card companies or any other financial institution should be the arbiter of what an American can buy," Sloan told the Observer.

Bank of America has had "intense" conversations over the past few months with its handful of gunmaker clients, Finucane said, though she did not disclose names.

The reaction from those clients has been mixed, she added.

"They're our clients and we have enjoyed a relationship, but there are those that I think that will reduce their portfolio and we'll work with them and others that will choose to do something else."

Bank of America declined to elaborate on its move beyond Finucane's comments. It also would not say if it is planning any other gun-related actions.