Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 8, BofA's Anne Finucane
Vice Chairman, Bank of America
When a gunman shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in February, employees at a nearby branch of Bank of America were forced to shelter in place.
And when five police offers were fatally shot in Dallas during a demonstration against police shootings of black men, BofA’s local corporate offices served as the backdrop for the chaotic scene.
Over the past few years, the families of roughly 150 BofA employees have been affected in some way by the string of mass shootings across the country. For that reason, the Charlotte, N.C., company this spring said it would no longer bank gun manufacturers that sold military-style weapons to the public — and it was Anne Finucane’s job to communicate the bank’s position to the public.
“Our rationale was a lot less political than it was in response to our employees and to our customers,” Finucane said.
As vice chairman of Bank of America, she is in charge of the company’s environmental, social and governance initiatives. As big corporations — and big banks, in particular — have faced pressure over the past year to take a stance on political issues ranging from immigration to gun control, Finucane has stepped into the spotlight.
It’s a position she knows well. In the years following the subprime mortgage crisis, all eyes were on her as she worked to rehabilitate BofA’s once-marquee reputation.
She succeeded. With most of BofA’s crisis-era problems in the rearview mirror, the company in 2015 promoted Finucane to vice chairman and turned her focus, in large part, to philanthropic initiatives and social policy issues, such as finding business-friendly ways to address climate change.
On the issue of guns, Finucane said she hopes to see policymakers take action in the years ahead, particularly on mental health and gun registration. That’s unlikely in the short term, given the reluctance in Congress to address gun control — and pushback from top Republicans and lobbying groups to decisions by both BofA and Citigroup to stop serving gun makers.
But BofA decided this year that it didn’t have time to wait, Finucane said.
“In the absence of public policy, and not trying to take on more than we could do, nor really trying to make a political statement, we did what we could do,” she said.