Lummis, GOP Banking Members Demand Fairness in Banking

April 23, 2021

Banks shouldn’t choose winners and losers based on politics

Washington – Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) joined Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA) and her other Republican colleagues on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to send a letter calling on Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to stop pressuring banks to discriminate against energy companies through their lending practices.

In the letter, the senators noted, “Misusing government power to influence bank lending and investment practices will distort capital allocation, raise energy costs for consumers, and slow economic growth.” The senators also pointed out that fossil fuels “continue to represent approximately 80 percent of U.S. energy production and consumption.” Any bank practices that would harm energy companies would ultimately harm working class Americans across the country.

“We need to remove politics from our banking system,” Senator Lummis said. “The ability to get a bank account or a loan is essential, and every legal business in our country should have access to financial services. Bank regulators should not judge a book by its cover. This action by Mr. Kerry harkens back to the days of Operation Chokepoint. It’s essential to Wyoming businesses, especially those that have been unfairly labeled ‘dirty’ that this action be reversed and we judge companies based on the numbers, not the political winds of the day.”

The Biden Administration has reportedly been encouraging banks to allocate loans away from businesses that have fallen out of political favor, in this case, energy companies. These actions are reminiscent of the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point – an initiative targeting gun manufacturers and tobacco companies, among other industries, for extra regulatory scrutiny based on political preferences, not quantifiable risks to the economy. 

To read the full letter, click here.