In A Wall Street First, Citigroup Announces New Gun Control Policies

Amalgamated Bank, a union-owned bank known for championing progressive and left-leaning causes, announced on April 4 that it would endorse and adopt gun control policies outlined by Everytown for Gun Safety.
Those include ensuring that new and existing clients also adhere to Everytown's Safety Codes of Conduct, divesting from companies that manufacture or distribute firearms, weaponry, and ammunition, and working with other financial institutes to promote "responsible practices from gun manufacturers and distributors."
In a press release, Amalgamated CEO Keith Mestrich said, "Collectively, banks and lenders have the power to promote responsible business practices from gun manufacturers and distributors, and ultimately contribute to a safer society for all. Amalgamated will do whatever we can to achieve that goal and we hope other banks and financial institutions will agree and act."
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This article was originally published on March 22, 2018.
This morning, Citigroup announced a series of firearms sale restrictions, telling The New York Times that the decision has been "a while coming."
The policies will apply to Citigroup's business partners and clients who offer credit cards backed by the bank, prohibiting the sale of bump stocks (which were used in last year's Las Vegas concert shooting) and high-capacity magazines (which have been used in half of the mass shootings between 1982 and 2010).
The bank will also require its business customers to deny firearms sales to customers who have not passed a background check, are younger than 21 years old, and will require gun manufacturing clients to provide details about their product and distribution networks.
"We want to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands. So our new policy centers around current firearms sales best practices that will guide those we do business with as a firm," wrote Ed Skyler, the bank's Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs, on Citigroup's blog.
If their clients and business partners opt not to follow the bank's new policy, the company "will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi."
The move sends a very loud signal coming from Wall Street. Although several major U.S. retailers have changed their gun sale policies after the Parkland school shooting last month, and individuals have questioned how their funds are being used (even asking investment firms to divest from gun stocks), no hard stance on the issue of gun control has come from the banking sector — and there is very little financial incentive to make one. Earlier this month, Bloomberg published a list of banks that finance the gun industry, with Wells Fargo at the top.
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For the moment, Citigroup seems willing to weather any potential fallout from the new rules. The company told the Times that "real revenue is at risk" if customers or partners decide to take their business elsewhere, but they are holding firm.
"As a society, we all know that something needs to change. And as a company, we feel we must do our part," Skyler wrote. "We don't have the perfect solution but we have come to the conclusion that we must do our part to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. And we hope our actions help achieve that vital goal."
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