Financial institutions are pushing back against a proposed rule change that would force them to work with the firearms industry, citing concerns over the legality of the measure.
Introduced by the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in November, the measure would block financial institutions from refusing to do business with companies the banks believe may hurt their image. The rule requires that banks base decisions on financial risk assessment: As long as the numbers are financially sound, banks will be unable to deny services to a lawful business.
The Bank Policy Institute argues that the new rule would "effectively replace the traditional business of American banking," adding that it would require banks to take on risk and barring them from "using subjective judgment and qualitative considerations, including reputational risk, in deciding whether to provide a financial service." A group of 12 Democratic lawmakers concurred, saying that the proposed rule would hamper the ability of banks to make comprehensive assessments of businesses.