Chase Bank now facing internal pressures to avoid religious discrimination

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


A Christian hedge fund manager whose company is also a shareholder of JP Morgan Chase plans to propose a resolution regarding the banking giant’s handling of some Christian and conservative accounts. 

As first reported by the Christian Post, David L. Bahnsen, founder and managing partner of The Bahnsen Group, will present a resolution in which he will call on the company’s board of directors to evaluate how it handles clients who hold particular religious or political views. 

“Shareholders request the Board of Directors of JPMorgan Chase & Co. conduct an evaluation and issue a report within the next year … evaluating how it oversees risks related to discrimination against individuals based on their race, color, religion (including religious views), sex, national origin, or political views, and whether such discrimination may impact individuals’ exercise of their constitutionally protected civil rights,” the resolution reads. 

The resolution follows an early-May letter penned by the attorneys general of 19 states, which alleged Chase temporarily shut down the account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a Christian advocacy group, while a Chase-owned card processor had shuttered the account of the Family Council, a pro-life group. 

Chase has denied having ever discriminated against a client based on said client’s political or religious views. 

“We believe [Bahnsen’s] requested report is based on allegations that are not true,” a statement in opposition to the resolution reads. “It is not our policy to debank people because of their political views, ideas, or religious affiliation. JPMorgan Chase is working to support a diverse and inclusive culture for our employees and our business, and the Firm has key policies in place intended to prevent discrimination.”

However, Bahnsen and several dozen other financial managers previously signed a letter in which they questioned Chase, as well as PayPal, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, and Visa for having nebulous policies that allow the companies to deny banking or other financial services to individuals for a host of reasons. 

“[Overly] broad language throughout many of your companies’ terms of service that gives staff carte blanche authority to deny or restrict service for vague, arbitrary, or viewpoint-based reasons,” the letter reads. 

The signatories list a host of examples of the type of policy language with which they object, among them a Visa policy that forbids using their service “in any manner that could be deemed hateful.”  

“Policies like these place customers and clients at risk of being ‘debanked’ simply because a company employee disagrees with their point of view on any number of contentious social issues,” the letter reads. “And they also risk giving fringe activists and governments a foothold to demand that private financial institutions deny service under the sweeping, unfettered discretion that such policies provide. That’s bad for business. But more to the point, it is a serious affront to public trust and a real threat to the ability of American citizens to freely live and work according to their deeply held convictions.”

Bahnsen will officially present his resolution for a vote on May 16.