The nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, is facing continued criticism for its apparently disparate treatment of customers on political and religious lines.
Boasting $3.38 trillion in assets and well over 270,000 employees on the payroll worldwide, Chase has put together a troubling track record of picking winners and losers among its customers based on their viewpoints.
In 2019, the bank famously buckled to fringe political interests by announcing it would “no longer bank the private prison industry.” It then initially denied payment processing services to mainstream GOP-affiliated group Defense of Liberty before backing down and allowing payments to process.
But it’s Chase’s 2022 decision to cancel the bank account of a group recently launched by former U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback that has kept the financial giant under the microscope.
Writing at Real Clear Markets, Free Enterprise Project director Scott Shepard calls attention to the yawning gap between public statements from Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and his financial institution’s string of decisions to punish political and religious conservatives.
Shepard goes on to contrast the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index with Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index—which has been a major driver of Corporate America’s adoption of what Shepard aptly describes as its “activist-maximalist position (which is constantly changing)” in recent years.
Yet, while major corporations like Chase tout their commitment to transparency to a diverse array of shareholders and even the far more vaguely defined “stakeholders,” Shepard points out that a simple experiment proved Chase’s rhetoric only goes in one direction—to the far left.
We identified organizations that garrulously congratulated themselves for high HRC index scores, but had refused to participate in the [VDS Business Index], and tried to get them to adopt the [VDS Business Index]. One of these companies was Chase. Having learned that the way to get companies to adopt a new index was for big investors and clients to ask them to do so, we identified some of those very high-level investors who supported Chase’s adoption of the [VDS Business Index] and attempted to set up the necessary meeting to make the proper demonstration of interest.
Chase refused to have a meeting with these investors. This is the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and refusing to hear the information that would, under their own rules, force them to act in a non-partisan way, at least insofar as adopting an index that scores for non-discrimination and non-partisanship alongside the HRC index and other indices that award high scores for embracing highly partisan positions that discriminate against … well, the majority of the population.
Read Shepard’s op-ed here.