Despite public outrage following the massacre of 17 people at a Florida high school on Valentine's Day, the Republican-controlled Congress does not appear likely to pursue gun control legislation.
That is prompting some banks to takes steps of their own to try to minimize gun violence. Citigroup was the first big bank to do so when it said in March that it will require its customers in the firearms industry to adhere to three basic principles
: do not sell guns to any buyers who are under 21 or who have not passed background checks and do not sell bump-stocks or high-capacity magazines.
Bank of America followed suit in April when it announced that it will stop lending to companies that make the assault-style weapons
that were used in the Parkland, Fla., killings and the mass-shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas in October.
In a memo to employees, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, above, called on the banking industry to work together to help keep guns from getting into the wrong hands.
“We know that our efforts cannot lead to real change unless we work with others,” Corbat said in the memo. “To that end, we are initiating a dialogue within the financial services industry and with other stakeholders to understand whether there are additional technology solutions or voluntary standards that can be enacted.”
Some banks, though, are resisting such overtures. Wells Fargo, which has been described as the “go-to bank” for gun makers and the National Rifle Association,
has said it would take its lead from policymakers, not other banks.
“We don’t think it’s a good idea for banks to decide what products and services Americans can buy,” Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan said at the bank’s annual meeting in April. “It should not be up to me, to us, to decide that. It should be up to folks following the laws and folks making decisions.”