Amidst a wave of major banks in the U.S. withdrawing financing from the private prison sector, the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee today called on US Bank to clarify its position and fully commit to ending all financing of private prison companies. The coalition, which consists of 100+ organizations representing millions of people nationwide, is encouraged by US Bank’s decision to reduce its exposure in the private prison industry, but has written US Bank asking for a clear commitment not to refinance any current arrangements or sign any new financing agreements with private prison companies. The private prison industry has a documented history of human rights abuses and is currently detaining over 70 percent of immigrants in ICE custody.
Last week, after facing intense public pressure from the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee, the #BackersOfHate campaign, and others, JPMorgan Chase announced that it will “no longer bank the private prison industry.” In addition, Wells Fargo also revealed that it had joined JPMorgan Chase in stepping away from banking private prisons at a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.The Committee sent the following letter to US Bank yesterday urging the bank to clarify its commitment and follow suit:
“We are writing on behalf of the Families Belong Together Coalition, which is composed of more than 100 organizations, representing millions of people in America.
“We were heartened to see the below quote from Dana Ripley in the Washington Post article this week.
“Our credit exposure to private prison companies has decreased to an immaterial amount in recent years and we continue to reduce our exposure given the risk characteristics of this industry,” said Dana Ripley, U.S. Bank spokesman.
“Can you clarify the following questions so we can accurately understand and acknowledge your commitment?
“1) Does this quote mean that there will not be refinancing of existing agreements with Geo Group, Core Civic, and other private prison companies?
“2) Does this mean there will be no new financing agreements with Geo Group, Core Civic, or other private prison companies?