Bank Of America Profits Soar Amid Controversial Policies

Bank of America, the nation’s second-largest lender, reported robust second-quarter earnings, fueled by an increase in net interest income (NII). The bank’s profits surged to $7.10 billion, a significant rise from the $5.93 billion reported during the same period last year. Meanwhile, the lender’s NII rose 14% to $14.2 billion during the same period.

While the figures showcase a sound financial performance, the banking giant faces growing criticism for its business policies, accused of putting an “ideologically-driven agenda” before its customers’ needs. This criticism centers on the bank’s politicized decisions, such as the alleged implementation of a social score system akin to China’s, favoring home buyers based on race and cutting off loans to gun manufacturers and fossil fuel industries.

The consumer advocacy group Consumers’ Research recently launched the “Bank of UnAmerica” campaign, targeting the financial giant’s controversial practices. The campaign made national headlines with ads accusing the bank of “using a social score system straight out of China’s playbook,” “coming after your Second Amendment rights,” and favoring specific home buyers based on race.

Executive Director of Consumers’ Research, Will Hild, accused Bank of America of using arbitrary environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) metrics to exclude individuals and businesses from crucial banking services potentially. Moreover, he contended that CEO Brian Moynihan had “wielded the United States’ second-largest bank like a political club.”

Bank of America’s controversial ESG fanaticism involves pressuring borrowers to reduce their emissions or risk losing out on loans. Critics argue that such a tactic hampers economic growth and dismisses democratic processes. This approach appears to prioritize politics over customer service. In addition, Bank of America’s 2018 decision to sever ties with gunmakers manufacturing completely legal firearms, including the popular AR-15, further underscores its anti-Second Amendment stance.

Notwithstanding the criticism, Moynihan defended the company’s progressive ESG policies. In the bank’s annual report in March, he wrote, “I’ve sometimes been surprised to be asked—including at congressional hearings—’Are you a capitalist?'” He continued, “You might also find the question unusual. Of course, I answered, ‘Yes.'”

Despite the bank’s impressive financial performance, its controversial policies stoke division. The bank’s bold foray into social issues may be intended to project a socially responsible corporate image. Yet, it will alienate those who argue it’s overstepping its legitimate role as a lender.