Christian investors celebrate win against debanking trend
I love it when I have good news to share, and today I have some excellent news. By God’s grace, we have pounded another nail into the coffin of the discriminatory trend of big banks canceling accounts and financing relationships of conservative Christian organizations and individuals. We have been negotiating with M&T Bank, a large financial institution with over 17,000 employees, regarding a shareholder proposal that we filed with them regarding their religious and other discrimination policies that could be invoked to debank Christians or anyone else with viewpoints the bank disagreed with, for that matter.
After initial resistance, M&T has wisely agreed to our request to publish critical information about their discrimination policies to allow for the public accountability necessary to safeguard bank customers from hateful discrimination and harassment based on their religious or political viewpoints. Here is the decisive memo we received from the management of M&T:
“M&T is actively working to increase its transparency and enhance its disclosures based on what is important to our shareholders. In addition to the Survey responses, we would ask that you also take the following information into consideration in determining whether to withdraw your shareholder proposal:
- In 2023, we will include enhancements to certain disclosures included within M&T’s ESG Report (that will be published this spring) that would allow us to complete additional questions in the Survey, including for example:
o Expanding information regarding our commitment to fair lending. Currently, we note that we treat “customers consistently and equitably, in compliance with consumer protection laws and regulations, and without regard to any specific characteristics or basis as prohibited by law.” However, we do not describe specifically all the characteristics protected by M&T’s fair lending policies, which include religion, creed and political affiliation, among other protected classes.
o Disclosing new information regarding the M&T Diversity Council’s Mission Statement; and
o Providing additional details regarding the subjects/topics covered in M&T’s diversity training.”
Praise God for His blessing! And thank you, M&T Bank, for respecting the voice of your Christian shareholders and making this critically important change to protect the well-being of all your customers, Christian or otherwise!
This “debanking” problem has steadily grown over the past few years, recently including JP Morgan Chase Bank canceling the bank account of a religious non-profit led by former Senator and U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback. Earlier this year, My Pillow CEO and conservative political activist Mike Lindell had his bank accounts closed at Minnesota Bank and Trust. And the list goes on.
Even if you don’t like Mike Lindell or Ambassador Brownback or what they stand for, is it right to cut them off from essential financial services? What happens when a society denies banking services based on political or religious viewpoints?
Today it’s Lindell or Brownback; tomorrow, it is you and me. Today it’s conservatives, tomorrow, it’s moderates and liberals. Today it’s Christians, tomorrow, it’s anybody who disagrees with the regime. You get the picture; this has to stop.
That is why we at Inspire Investing are leaning into the effort to crush the debanking trend before it goes any further. This is why we are celebrating this victory with M&T Bank and their decision to heed the voice of their Christian shareholders.
Do you want to join this good fight? When you invest with Inspire Investing, you give us the opportunity to make your voice heard as we speak biblical truth to corporate power. Together we are inspiring transformation for God’s glory throughout the world with the biblically responsible investing movement!
Will you join us?
Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on The Christian Post, FOX, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.
Twitter.com/robertnetzly LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly
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