JPMorgan cancels checking account of religious non-profit, demands full donor list as condition for reconsideration
If you support religious liberty, you could get "canceled" by banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co., which did just that
to the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF).
NCRF was founded and launched by former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who was also a senator, in an attempt to preserve the freedom to practice religion of any kind. He says religious freedom "is a cornerstone of America's constitutional democracy" and is "at the heart of America's founding."
"We are creating the National Committee for Religious Freedom to uphold this fundamental right, so revered by our Founders, by providing a critically needed political response to the ongoing attacks, in law and culture, on America's First Freedom," Brownback added.
Because of "multigenerational banking relationships our team had with the bank," NCRF decided to open a checking account with JPMorgan to conduct its business operations. The relationship seemed fine until three weeks in when JPMorgan terminated the account for no stated reason. (Related: JPMorgan claims that
the world is about to be struck by an economic "hurricane".)
JPMorgan sent NCRF a letter about the termination, but not before actually terminating it without warning. Upon contacting the bank, NCRF was told that the cancelation was not an error and that "a note in the file read that Chase employees were not permitted to provide any further clarifying information to the customer."
"Why the cancelation?" Brownback wants to know. "Why the secrecy and lack of transparency? Why was Chase hiding its reasons and intentions for closing the account of a client that seeks to serve the public good and defend religious freedom for every person in America?"
JPMorgan has discriminated against others, too
The situation is strange to say the least. After all, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is on record as stating that he believes religious freedom is a core value that underpins the very fabric that binds the United States together as a society.
"So why cancel an organization that exists to protect the most foundational of core American values?" Brownback wants to know.
The cancelation caused a few problems for NCRF, which suffered "unexpected operational and financial challenges" as a new bank was found.
Initially, JPMorgan indicated that there was no way for NCRF to ever reactivate its checking account. That story changed, however, when the company told NCRF that it would need to hand over a trove of private information in order to even just be considered for account reactivation.
"Someone from Chase eventually reached out to our executive director and informed him that it would be willing to reconsider doing business with the NCRF if we would provide our donor list, a list of political candidates we intended to support, and a full explanation of the criteria by which we would endorse and support those candidates," Brownback said.
Asking for "this type of information," he added, was "entirely inappropriate" – and it is not the first time that JPMorgan has done this kind of thing to customers with certain political or religious affiliations.
"Does Chase ask every customer what politicians they support and why before deciding whether or not to accept them as a customer?" Brownback said.
"Religious institutions, houses of worship, and people of all faiths should be greatly concerned that their business, credit, or even personal or private bank accounts could likewise be terminated for any or no reason at all."
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary, Armed Services, and Homeland Security Committees, responded to the news on Twitter with one simple word: "What?"
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