U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, have co-sponsored the Fair Access to Banking Act, which would prevent discrimination by banks and financial services providers against constitutionally-protected industries and law-abiding businesses, such as firearms manufacturers. The bill, led by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) is co-sponsored by 34 additional Senate Republicans.
“Big banks are using political ideologies as a reason to deny access to capital,” said Risch. “This is pushing our country further away from the principles that have fueled the American dream since our country’s founding. To prevent law-abiding Idahoans from being victimized for their viewpoints, with Senators Cramer and Crapo, we introduced the Fair Access to Banking Act, which will prevent banks from discriminating against entire industries for political prejudices.”
“The intentional discrimination against lawful industries by the financial services sector is disturbing,” said Crapo. “Individuals and companies complying with federal and state law must have full access to credit 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. A one-pager can be found HERE.