Experts Point to Pattern of Conservatives Being ‘Debanked’
For David Bahnsen, cancel culture has plagued many aspects of American life – and financial institutions are no exception.
JPMorgan Chase & Company has been accused by 19 Republican states of “debanking” (the involuntary cancellation of bank accounts) members of conservative or religious groups. With rising frequency, clients associated with conservative or religious beliefs are reporting being expelled from financial institutions, including Sam Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom and current head of the nonprofit National Committee for Religious Freedom. “We’ve just heard of way too many groups and entities, particularly religious-associated ones, that have been canceled by their providers, and we want to start seeing some of these cases investigated,” Brownback commented.
Bahnsen, who is founder and chief investment officer of the Bahnsen Group, has made plans to confront JPMorgan concerning their alleged religious and political discrimination. As a shareholder, Bahnsen wants to take a stand and initiate dialogue with JPMorgan as a means of reporting what’s happening. The true controversy, as Bahnsen sees it, is rooted in JPMorgan’s refusal to entertain the discussion proposed.
On a recent edition of “Washington Watch,” Bahnsen noted how Christians often recoil from companies who make controversial decisions. However, he also articulated how, when they are being attacked by companies they are investing in, Christians should want to fight back and urge accountability so that companies such as JPMorgan — who promise inclusivity and “oppose discrimination of any form” — will genuinely live up to those commitments.
While Bahnsen sees these acts of discrimination as concerning, he made it clear the problem does not hinge upon the financial institutions. The root of the issue, as Bahnsen put it, is within the heart of “woke corporate America.” “The banks are still pretending to be neutral. That’s a good thing,” Bahnsen said. “Now, I don’t think they are neutral, but at least they’re pretending. Other companies are just flat out admitting that they have no regard for people of faith or people of a different political belief system.”
Bahnsen emphasized how being a shareholder helps him fight back. “I’ve been a shareholder at JPMorgan for 15 years, so I have every fiduciary right to pursue this. So, I think there’s a difference in that agenda. I’m honestly not being an activist. I’m being an engaged investor. I think there’s a difference.”
How should Christians react to being debanked, particularly if they aren’t shareholders? Bahnsen explained how people can stand up to cancel culture without compromising their Christian witness. Bahnsen made clear that Christians must first seek the reason for the company’s actions by discerning between two key factors: are you being treated unfairly, or is this financial institution punishing you for negligence? Make sure it’s “not because you forgot some paperwork or you’re not providing documentation,” Bahnsen said. “We don’t want any false alarms. We don’t want to go be the boy who cried wolf, if you will. It is incumbent on us to keep our side of the street clean, do what we’re supposed to do. And then if there is real [de]banking and discrimination, it’s going to give us the moral authority to do something about it and not have it kind of embarrass us later.”
Should action be required, Bahnsen suggests reporting the discrimination to groups or people already dedicated to fighting against these issues. “Get that information to people and then from there it will get channeled. … Put it in the queue, if you will, for activity, and I’ll be one of those people. I’ll fight this good fight as long as I have to. I’m not going to put up with it for long. It needs to change.”
Sarah Holliday is a Washington Stand intern at Family Research Council.