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Claim: Bank of America has declined to continue doing business with industries involved in gun sales.
UNDETERMINED: Bank of America canceled the credit line of a firearms manufacturer.
FALSE: Bank of America blocks purchases of firearms or ammunition made with their debit/credit cards.
Example:[Collected via Facebook, April 2012]
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an "account analysis" meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.
At this point I interrupted him and asked "Can I possibly save you some time so that you don't waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer want my business?"
"That is correct" he says.
I replied "That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won't mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone one I know that BofA is not firearms industry friendly?"
"You have to do what you must" he said.
"So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?"
Mr Fox confirmed that it was. At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing let for him to say.
I think it is import for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms should know when a business does not support these rights. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don't agree with a business' political position I can not in good conscience support them. We will soon no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for our products.
Origins: On 19 April 2012, Kelly D. McMillan, Director of Operations for McMillan Group International, posted the above-quoted account
on that company's Facebook page, stating that a during a meeting a Senior Vice President with Bank of America plainly told him the bank was no longer interested in doing business with McMillan Group because McMillan was now in the firearms manufacturing business. Mr. McMillan maintains his account accurately describes what took place at that meeting.
We contacted Bank of America for a response, and spokeswoman Anne Pace told us that while she could not comment on the bank's relationship with McMillan Group, she could tell us that Bank of America "has no policies that would prohibit us from doing business with clients in [the firearms] industry":
While we cannot discuss the details of any individual client we work with, we can assure you the allegations being made here are completely false. Bank of America does not have a policy that prohibits us from banking clients in this industry. In fact, we have numerous, longstanding customers in the industry.
As evidence, Ms. Pace pointed us to an April 2012 financial news article which mentioned, among other topics, a $250 million business deal involving Bank of America with Freedom Group Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of firearms and ammunition:
Elsewhere, talk of 8% area is out on the US$250m third lien senior secured notes from FGI Operating Co (Freedom Group Inc). The eight-yearnon-call three issue is being led by BofA Merrill, Deutsche Bank and RBC joint books. Proceeds of the deal, which is expected to price in the afternoon, will be used to fund bond tender offers. Freedom Group makes guns and ammunition.
In December 2012 Joe Sirochman, the owner of American Spirit Arms, claimed in a Facebook post that Bank of America froze his company’s account because he is in the firearms business:
My name is Joe Sirochman owner of American Spirit Arms and I wanted to share my recent experience with Bank of America (which we have been doing business with for over 10 years). Everyone is familiar with the latest increase in guns sales, dealers selling out of inventory, manufacturers backlogged for months, large revenue all generated in the last two weeks. American Spirit Arms is no exception to the overwhelming demand. What we have experienced is that our web site orders have jumped 500% causing our web site E-commerce processing larger Deposits to BANK OF AMERICA. Well, this through up a huge RED Flag with Bank of America. So they decided to hold the deposits for further review, meaning that the orders/payments that were coming in through the web (being paid by the customer and that were shipped out by American Spirit Arms), the BANK was keeping (UNDER REVIEW ). As you could imagine this made me furious. After countless hours on the phone with BANK OF AMERICA I finally got a Manager in the right department that told me the reason that the deposits were on hold for FURTHER REVIEW ... HER EXACT WORDS WERE:
”WE BELIEVE YOU SHOULD NOT BE SELLING GUNS and PARTS ON THE INTERNET“
I flipped the F**k Out and told them that they have no right to make up their own new rules and regs, that we are a firearms Manufacturer with all the proper licensing FFL (Federal Firearm license), SOT, and that we follow all Federal and All States’ rules and regulations on shipping Firearms and parts and that we are also Audited by ATF and Homeland Security on a regular basis. She said that she understands that but that the deposits will be released After they have a Chance to review and clear them. I told her that This was unacceptable and the those deposits (that were a week old by now) needed to be released ASAP, that we are a small business and rely on the revenue to run and stay operational. After that being said another Manager got involved and released one of the deposits (to help out). So far to date after Two weeks of sales only 1/3 of collected internet sales have been released. I am still pissed and looking for another Bank and options.
I just thought the public should know.
I will keep everyone posted on new developments.
Bank of America maintained that the situation encountered by Mr. Sirochman was merely a routine review triggered by a sudden large spike in volume which had since been resolved and had nothing to do with the nature of his business:
This customer's concerns have been resolved. Any spike in transaction volumes is routinely reviewed by the bank in order to protect our customers. This process is initiated regardless of the industry in which they do business.
A January 2013 video claimed to document a Bank of America representative stating that the banking chain would no longer accept purchases of firearms or ammunition made with their credit or debit cards:
However, when we contacted Bank of America ourselves, a representative told us that the company had no such policy, and another video related that same information, contradicting the previous video: