(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called on J.P. Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon on Wednesday to adopt what she called “responsible” lending policies when it comes to the gun industry.
During a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee titled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable,” Maloney pointed out that two other banks on the panel - Citibank and Bank of America - adopted policies “limiting their business with certain gun industry clients.”
“After the Parkland shooting last year where a lone gunman killed 17 students and staff with a military-style semi-automatic rifle, two of the banks on this panel - Citibank and Bank of America - stepped up to the plate and adopted formal policies limiting their business with certain gun industry clients, and I want to publicly thank them,” she said.
“Now, Mr. Dimon, last week you published your letter to shareholders. In the section on responsible banking, you wrote the paragraph that is up on the screen right now. You said that turning down clients with low character is ‘often the only way to be a responsible bank,” Maloney said.
“Well, actions speak louder than words, Mr. Dimon, and from what I can tell, these are just words to you. Let’s talk about some of the actions on your bank’s activities. Even after the horrific massacres at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Parkland, J.P. Morgan has arranged about $273 million of loans for the manufacturers of military-style firearms - the same weapons that are being used in mass shootings all over our country,” the congresswoman said.
“Even worse, last year J.P. Morgan took partial ownership of Remington, the manufacturer of the exact gun that was used to kill 20 children in the Sandy Hook shooting, and J.P. Morgan has refused to adopt a policy to ensure responsible lending to the gun industry, even though you claim that client selection is important, and even though two of your competitors have already adopted these policies,” she said.
“So my question is, will you live up to your own rhetoric? Will you commit to adopting a formal policy that ensures responsible lending in your bank’s business with the gun industry?” Maloney asked.
Dimon responded, saying his bank’s clients manufacture guns for the military and police, and they’re audited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
“Everything we do with clients goes through a severe process of review, reputational risk, et cetera. We have a very small relationship with gun manufacturers. They’re the same gun manufacturers who make military equipment for the United States military and for United States police force, which we hold in the highest regard,” the CEO said.
“Regarding sellers of guns, there are over 100,000 retailers out there who sell guns. Every single one that we do business with, we do a thorough review. They’re audited by the ATF in spite of the fact it’s only six percent a year. They’re regulated by state and federal government, and if we think they’re doing something wrong or risky, we stop doing business with them,” he added.
“That’s not what I was asking. I was asking for you to adopt a formal policy for your bank on responsible business like your competitors have with the gun industry,” Maloney said.
“I could certainly consider that, yes,” Dimon said.