Press Releases

WASHINGTON—U.S Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) led their Republican colleagues in reintroducing the Fair Access to Banking Act, a bill to bar financial institutions from refusing or limiting services to businesses and industries based on politically-motivated factors.

The purpose of the Fair Access to Banking Act is to protect fair access to financial services and to ensure banks operate in a safe and sound manner, basing their judgements and decisions on impartial, individualized risk-based analysis developed through empirical data and evaluated under quantifiable standards.

“Financial institutions should extend credit and offer services based on sound underwriting, risk and reward – not political beliefs. The Fair Access to Banking Act would prevent this biased practice and hold banks and credit unions accountable for failure to comply,” Boozman said.

“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks and financial institutions are no exception. The Biden administration and their liberal base are weaponizing the financial system to defund, debank, or discredit industries they do not like,” Cramer said. “It is fundamentally unfair. Our bill imposes serious consequences for discriminatory decisions or de facto bans of legal industries.”

The Senators’ legislation is in response to United States banks and financial institutions increasingly using their economic standing to categorically discriminate against legal industries. For example, in 2018, Citigroup instituted a policy to withhold project-related financing for coal plants; in 2020, five of the country’s largest banks announced they would not provide loans or credit to support oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, despite explicit congressional authorization. Such exclusionary practices also extend to industries protected by the Second Amendment too, with Capital One, among other banks, including “ammunitions, firearms, or firearm parts” in the prohibited payments section of its corporate policy manual, and payment services like Apple Pay and PayPal denying their services for transactions involving firearms or ammunition. 

In response to these developments, the Trump administration created the Fair Access Rule to prevent these examples and other acts of discrimination, but the rule’s implementation has since been paused under President Biden.

Senators Boozman and Cramer are joined by these cosponsors: Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), James Risch (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The group makes up over one-third of the Senate.

The bill has garnered industry support from organizations including the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), National Rifle Association (NRA), Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), National Mining Association (NMA), National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and Day 1 Alliance.