SunTrust is latest bank to halt financing of private prisons

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SunTrust, the lender merging with BB&T, said it won't provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities.

"This decision was made after extensive consideration of the views of our stakeholders on this deeply complex issue," the Atlanta-based bank said in an emailed statement Monday.

SunTrust's decision follows similar moves by Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Protesters have been urging bank executives to back away from the business, and detention centers have become a flash point amid reports of substandard conditions at facilities for migrant children.

SunTrust shares fell as much as 1.3% in intraday trading. The bank has helped arrange bonds for private-prison operators Geo Group Inc. and CoreCivic Inc. Geo Group dropped as much as 1.2% while CoreCivic was down 0.7% before bouncing back.

"This decision is about caving to political pressure," Amanda Gilchrist, a spokeswoman for CoreCivic, said in an emailed statement. "These banks have kowtowed to a small group of activists rather than engaging in a constructive dialogue."

Geo Group wasn't immediately available to comment.

Bloomberg News