Bank of America says it will stop lending to private-prison companies

Bank of America says it will stop lending to private-prison companies
© Greg Nash

Bank of America, the nation's second-biggest bank, announced Wednesday that it will sever ties with all companies that operate private prison and detention facilities, according to Bloomberg.

“We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made,” BoA Vice Chair Anne Finucane told the publication.

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Before making the decision, the bank conducted a review through its environmental, social and governance (ESG) committee, which included meeting and consulting with clients, criminal justice experts and civil rights leaders, as well as internal black and Hispanic leaders, according to Bloomberg.

The move follows a similar decision by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in March, as well as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOver 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation Kelly pushes back on Arizona Democrats' move to censure Sinema Fiscal conservatives should support postal reform  MORE’s (D-Mass.) rollout last week of a proposal to ban private prisons.

“The broader issues are the need for reforms in the criminal justice system and immigration,” Finucane said, according to Bloomberg.

The announcement led to nearly 4 percent drops in shares of Geo Group Inc. and CoreCivic Inc., two of the biggest for-profit prison companies. While both companies run facilities on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they have denied running centers that house unaccompanied minors.

“The GEO Group has never managed any facilities that house unaccompanied minors, nor have we ever managed border patrol holding facilities,” GEO Group Chief Executive Officer George C. Zoley said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Hispanics sour on Biden and Democrats' agenda as midterms loom MORE (D-N.Y.) hailed the decision on Twitter, tying it to heightened public outrage about the conditions in facilities housing detained migrants.