State Financial Officers Urge JPMorgan Chase to Address Political and Religious Bias

A coalition of more than a dozen state financial officers has written to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, urging the bank to eliminate any internal political or anti-religious bias that might influence its decisions against clients. The letter, signed by 14 Republican state auditors, controllers, and treasurers, expresses concerns about politically motivated actions by the nation’s largest bank.

The officers argue that JPMorgan Chase has displayed political bias in its policies and operations. They cite an incident where the bank closed the account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF) without explanation. Another example involved WePay, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, which denied ticket-payment processing services for a Republican event hosted by the non-profit Defense of Liberty. After Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick highlighted the issue and threatened to reconsider the state's business with the bank, JPMorgan Chase reversed its decision, and said the group "didn’t violate the terms of service."

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The state financial officers wrote, "While Chase maintains that such decisions are not driven by any underlying political motives, its questionable pattern of de-banking coupled with its lack of transparency is cause for concern." The financial officers are particularly concerned about the bank’s stance on fossil fuel companies. Despite CEO Jamie Dimon's testimony before Congress, where he stated that defunding fossil fuels would be the "road to hell for America," the bank’s involvement in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance has led to limitations in its business relationships with fossil fuel companies. 

The state financial officers underscore that many of their states' pension funds are significant shareholders in JPMorgan Chase. “A large number of our pension funds are direct shareholders of Chase, and as stewards of our states’ investment dollars, we are concerned that the company’s recent pattern of apparent politically motivated de-banking constitutes a breach of its fiduciary duty,” the state financial officers wrote to Dimon. They assert that "Under the law, you and the other officers of the company must act to maximize profit and must not subordinate the company’s long-term financial well-being to extraneous personal or political ends."

The allegations of political and anti-religious bias present a significant challenge for JPMorgan Chase, which prides itself on its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The bank has not commented on the specific claims made in the letter but has previously maintained that its decisions are not influenced by political considerations. The outcome of this situation will be closely monitored by stakeholders, as it has the potential to impact the bank's reputation and business operations.