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19 states to Chase: Stop misleading customers, commit to equality of treatment

KY AG spearheads letter calling on financial giant to prevent viewpoint discrimination against customers, provide transparency via ADF Business Index

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Tuesday to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 19 state attorneys general called upon the head of the nation’s largest bank to make good on his corporation’s stated commitment to inclusivity and equal treatment by putting a stop to its disturbing pattern of discrimination and politicized de-banking. The letter also calls upon him to participate in the survey portion of Alliance Defending Freedom’s 2023 Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index.

Led by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the letter urges Chase to provide much needed transparency to the American public by answering questions on the Business Index, which is the first comprehensive benchmark designed to measure corporate respect for religious and ideological diversity in the market, workplace, and public square.

The letter also documents repeated instances of Chase’s account cancelations and transaction denials on apparently political and ideological grounds. Those include Chase denying payments or canceling accounts associated with people and organizations who hold mainstream American values, such as former Ambassador Sam Brownback, the Arkansas Family Council, and Defense of Liberty.

“We commend Attorney General Cameron and his colleagues for taking bold, appropriate action to put customers first and hold Chase accountable on these crucial issues,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Unfortunately, megabanks like Chase have shown a disturbing pattern of debanking people for their religious and political views. Chase needs to rebuild trust with its shareholders and clients, but without basic information about its policies and practices, there’s no way to ensure that the company treats everyone equally regardless of their political or religious views.”

Citing analysis from the 2022 Business Index, where Chase scored just 15% overall, the attorneys general note a “concerning double standard” with Chase’s refusal to participate in the Business Index while celebrating its 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign 2022 Corporate Equality Index. The letter criticizes Chase for failing to “extend its openness and inclusivity to everyone” by its adverse treatment of those who hold mainstream American values.

“No individual or organization should have to worry that religious or political beliefs will limit access to financial services or undermine financial stability,” write the attorneys general. “Surely Chase’s promised inclusivity should extend to these fundamental characteristics of American identity. Accordingly, we call on Chase to stop its religious and politically biased discrimination and start living up to its commitment to an inclusive society where everyone feels welcomed, equal, and included. Participating in the survey component of the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index would be a positive first step.”

Delivered two weeks before Chase’s annual shareholder meeting, the letter is the latest in government officials’ and other concerned citizens’ efforts to call on Chase to remain committed to a society where everyone is welcome and to stop its politicized debanking. In late March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Chase’s attempt to exclude a shareholder resolution on viewpoint diversity from its ballot for its annual shareholder meeting May 16. Also in March, Nebraska State Treasurer John Murante led a group of 14 state treasurers calling on Dimon to be transparent with customers. Last November, Chase was featured prominently in the “Statement on Debanking and Free Speech,” signed by a group of nearly 60 financial professionals.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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