In the wake of Parkland, one of the many pushes out there was for banks to step in and force certain anti-gun policies on their own. As private entities, they could do things without the legislature. Several did, including Citibank.
Since then, we’ve seen multiple instances of the financial industry dropping the hammer on lawful businesses because they simply happen to be part of the firearm industry.
However, Citibank may have now found the downside of their anti-gun policies.
In an continuation of last year’s battle over the state doing business with banks that have gun control policies, the Bond Commission Thursday effectively kept Citigroup out of consideration for handling the loans needed over the next few years for highways projects.
“I’m interested in making sure taxpayers get the best rate, they’re concerned about making a political statement,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said after the meeting about the grading of bids that excluded Citigroup Inc., one of the nation’s Big Four banks.
State Treasurer John Schroder denied any politics, saying the grades told the story.
“You keep making the comments that it was politics,” Schroder told Dardenne, adding that the grading of bids was done without trickery. “You just don’t agree with how they scored certain scores.”
The State Bond Commission was voting on which financiers to allow into a pool of underwriters who would be at the ready to handle the financing of upcoming highway projects. A pool allows the state to move quickly by allowing the hiring of bond managers as soon as the need arises and the market is good, rather than going through the sometimes eight-week process to gather bids.
Schroder wanted to limit the pool to eight underwriters. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne sought 10.
Now, let’s not be coy and pretend there’s absolutely no way this could have been political. The pool’s limit is arbitrary in the first place, so whether it’s eight or 10, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Plus, Louisiana has been very upfront with their desire to limit doing business with anti-gun financial institutions.
For me, I’m a little torn on this. Citibank has a right to have whatever policies it wants, even regarding firearms. However, that right doesn’t mean anyone else has to do business with them in spite of them having those policies. That includes the state of Louisiana, a state that very pro-gun.
So yeah, it might be politically motivated after all.
But so what?
Unlike the city of Los Angeles demanding contractors reveal any ties they have with the NRA, Citibank’s policies are there for the world to see. There’s no need to demand they disclose how they feel about a political issue because, well, they told the whole damn world.
Regardless, though, even if it really wasn’t politically motivated in any way, if Citigroup believes it is, it’s a point they’ll have to consider going forward. If they lose enough business over these policies, they’ll change them. Sure, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has put pressure on them and other financial industry giants to interfere with the firearm industry, there’s only so much he can do and if they’re losing enough money, it might even make more sense to cross him and face the state regulators.
So good on Louisiana either way.