Newsline , Society

IN DEPTH: Banks Take Lead in Establishing Personal Social Credit System, Critics Charge

Posted on Monday, August 7, 2023
by Outside Contributor

Large money-center banks appear to be in the vanguard of a movement to build a system of personal social credit scores.

This week, British bank Barclays became the latest to be accused of shutting the accounts of its customers for political or religious reasons. That followed revelations in April that Coutts, a private bank owned by UK bank NatWest, was alleged to have closed the accounts and publicized personal information of conservative politician Nigel Farage, one of the foremost Brexit advocates and a supporter of the policies of former U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Meanwhile, British banks aren’t alone. Many say that the largest U.S. financial institutions are in lockstep with UK banks in establishing political and social criteria for their customers and punishing those who don’t comply.

“Sadly, what we’re seeing now with NatWest and Barclays isn’t surprising,” Justin Haskins, director at the Heartland Institute, told The Epoch Times. “There is a mountain of evidence that shows many of America’s largest and most powerful banks are discriminating against customers because of their ideological, social, cultural, religious, or political views.

“Through various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies and frameworks, banks regularly choose to screen out customers who are deemed ‘reputational risks’ or considered part of industries disfavored by elites and their powerful institutions.”

UK Ministers Find Fault With Discriminating Banks

In contrast to the United States, where regulators have taken no action, UK ministers have stepped in to defend their constituents against political discrimination. 

“Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary of the UK, met with some of the major banks recently and got them all to commit to a principle of non-discrimination, based on lawful expression,” Michael Ross, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), told The Epoch Times.

In addition, legislation is currently in the works to ban UK banks from discriminating against customers on a political or religious basis.

“I think the point that we can all agree on is that the right to lawful freedom of speech is fundamental,” UK Treasury Minister Baroness Penn stated last week. “And where that has seemed to be brought into question through the provision of services, we have cause to worry.”

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that the closure of Mr. Farage’s accounts was “wrong on so many levels.”

“This completely undermines the trust we have in our banking and financial systems,” Mr. Cleverly said. “We are better than this.”

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman posted to X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, on July 19:

“The Coutts scandal exposes the sinister nature of much of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion industry. Apparently, anyone who wants to control our borders & stop the boats can be branded ‘xenophobic’ & have their bank account closed in the name of ‘inclusivity.’”

As part of new UK regulations, banks that close customer accounts will be required to give a reason, and customers will have the right to appeal the bank’s decision. Banks that continue to discriminate may lose their licenses.

Meanwhile, British banks themselves appear to be turning against these policies, or at least of the unfavorable publicity they are facing as a result. 

On July 26, NatWest CEO Alison Rose resigned after Mr. Farage’s allegations were substantiated and it was revealed that she had discussed Mr. Farage’s details with BBC News. Ms. Rose stated that she was guilty of a “serious error of judgment.” 

Peter Flavel, CEO of Coutts, resigned on July 27, saying he took “ultimate responsibility” for the closure of Mr. Farage’s bank accounts. The UK government data watchdog has promised an investigation, sending a letter to banks to remind them that customers’ personal information should be kept private. 

“The banking duty of confidentiality is over a hundred years old,” said John Edwards, the UK’s information commissioner. “It is clear that it would not permit the discussion of a customer’s personal information with the media.”

“We trust banks with our money and with our personal information,” he added. “Any suggestion that this trust has been betrayed will be concerning for a bank’s customers, and for regulators like myself.”

US Banks Also Discriminate, Experts Say

JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, has also faced allegations of political and religious discrimination. 

“We’re already seeing this happening in the U.S.,” ADF’s Mr. Ross said. 

“Before this, there was obviously Sam Brownback and the National Committee for Religious Freedom,” he said, referring to accounts allegedly closed by JPMorgan Chase. “Chase also canceled Defense of Liberty a couple of years ago, retired [Lt. Gen.] Michael Flynn, the Family Council—all of them are designated either high risk or reputational risk.”

In May, longtime JPMorgan Chase shareholder David Bahnsen brought a shareholder action against the bank, claiming that it had closed the accounts of a religious organization established by former senator and U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback for political reasons.

While the action ultimately failed to gain majority support from shareholders, Mr. Bahnsen stated: “One thing I am certain of is that the next time a bank manager decides to close an account for somebody like Ambassador Brownback, they’re going to think twice about doing it. This was covered far and wide by both the left-wing press and the right-wing press, and I do not believe it looked good upon JPMorgan.”

In November 2021, WePay, a payment services company owned by JPMorgan Chase, abruptly canceled services they were providing for Defense of Liberty, a conservative organization, for an event featuring Donald Trump Jr. WePay said at the time that it wouldn’t serve anyone who promotes “hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime.”

That prompted Missouri state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick to threaten to halt state business with the bank.

In July 2021, Family Council faced a similar denial of service.

“Although Family Council generally tries to avoid doing business with companies like Chase, at 10:29 am on July 7, 2021, our office received a terse email from our credit card processor—a company owned by J.P. Morgan Chase—saying, ‘Unfortunately, we can no longer support your business.’ At 10:30 AM, they terminated our account, and we could no longer accept donations,” Family Council stated.

“For nearly two years, we had used this company to process donations that our supporters made to Family Council and the Education Alliance via our websites. If you gave by credit or debit card, this company handled the transaction. Without a processor, it’s impossible for a nonprofit to accept donations online.”

On March 23, financial officers from 14 states wrote a letter to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon expressing “concern that the bank is engaged in what appears to be politically motivated de-banking of certain industries, individuals, and groups.”

“A large number of our pension funds are direct shareholders of Chase, and as stewards of our states’ investment dollars, we are concerned that the company’s recent pattern of apparent politically motivated de-banking constitutes a breach of its fiduciary duty,” they stated. “Under the law, you and the other officers of the company must act to maximize profit and must not subordinate the company’s long-term financial well-being to extraneous personal or political ends.”

Meanwhile, 19 state attorneys general wrote a letter to Mr. Dimon.

“It is clear that JPMorgan Chase & Co. has persistently discriminated against certain customers due to their religious or political affiliation. 

“This discrimination is unacceptable,” the AGs wrote. “Chase must stop such behavior and align its business practices with the anti-discrimination policies that Chase proclaims.” 

Discrimination Could Spread Beyond Politics

Some say they are concerned that bank discrimination could spread beyond political and religious views to a broader social credit system that might also include things such as environmental behavior and gun control.

“There is every reason to believe that current discriminatory practices in banking could soon expand to personal CO2 emissions or gun purchases,” Mr. Haskins said.  

“Banks and other financial institutions have already started to discriminate with gun companies, either through higher fees or rates or by refusing to do business entirely, and every large bank in the United States, from Bank of America to Citi and Wells Fargo, have said they have started the process of phasing out CO2 emissions from their entire business model, including lending and banking services,” he said.

“This will take a few decades to complete, but if these banks go through with their plans, individuals and companies that rely on fossil fuels—almost everyone today—will be greatly affected.”

“The policies they use to do this are very expansive policies, like ‘reputational risk’ or ‘politically exposed person,’” the ADF’s Mr. Ross said. “There’s not really a limiting principle there, and so we can certainly see it aimed at any sort of political opponent or anyone who has views that activists or even government actors think are unpopular.”

“We’ve been carefully monitoring Chase, which de-banked General Flynn and de-banked other conservatives, then last fall de-banked Ambassador Brownback’s organization,” Scott Shepard, a director at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Epoch Times. 

“And just this last week, they de-banked a couple of doctors who are out talking about the inefficacy of [COVID-19] vaccines, that they won’t stop transmission, that they won’t make takers immune, etc., and the bank still hasn’t explained why,” Mr. Shepard said. “We’ve seen similar behavior at Bank of America, along with Bank of America sharing private information about the transactions of customers without warrants. And last week, we found out that that happens all the time; [FBI Director] Chris Wray says so.”

At a congressional hearing on July 12, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked Mr. Wray: “George Hill, former FBI supervisory intelligence analyst in the Boston field office, told us that Bank of America, with no legal process, gave to the FBI gun purchase records with no geographical boundaries for anybody that was a Bank of America customer. Is that true?” 

Mr. Wray replied, “A number of business community partners all the time, including financial institutions, share information with us about possible criminal activity, and my understanding is that that’s fully lawful.” 

Some have argued that, as private companies, banks are free to do business with whichever customers they choose. However, that position has been challenged on the grounds that financial services are critical to the ability of people and organizations to be able to function in modern society. 

“Banks in particular receive a ton of bailouts and public benefits from the government and from taxpayers here,” Mr. Ross said. “They do this so that they can serve the public.”

“So when they turn around and start weaponizing these financial services to cut off people with views they don’t like, they’re breaking the public trust,” he noted.

“The American banks that seem to be leading these de-banking and discrimination policies are the too-big-to-fail banks,” Mr. Shepard said. “If you’re backstopped by American taxpayers, you get to keep your profits but we cover your losses—you may not discriminate against the viewpoint of any American.”

Representatives of JPMorgan Chase, NatWest, and Barclays didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment. 

Reprinted with Permission From The Epoch Times – By Kevin Stocklin

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11 months ago

The banks are NOT doing any of this without the express consent from the government in which they are headquartered and operate around the world. All these firms are highly regulated and have to disclose what they plan to do ahead of time to their government regulators, who in turn have to OK or have the power to veto any such changes BEFORE they are allowed to go into effect. That is how the banking system works in all first world nations. In this case, both the U.S. and British governments are fully on board with the concept of establishing a social credit scoring system for the monitoring and control of their banking systems.

In the United States, both Janet Yellin and Jerome Powell are fully on board with the idea of establishing a social credit scoring system. The CBDC that they are working towards deploying with the BIS (Bank of International Settlement) has a social credit scoring system based on the Chinese model already written into its code. You can go to the BIS website and read the latest status update on this project for yourself. All the information is readily available if you only bother to look for it.

This is yet another area where the vast majority of the American people are being kept completely in the dark about coming changes that are happening all around them until it is too late for them to do anything about it. Plan accordingly for the future so you can survive the changes, because it’s coming our way whether or not you like it or are ready for it.

11 months ago

This hellborn idea is brilliant in a demonic way. They can control the masses without any telltale mark on wrist or forehead. Once they make cash illegal the only people who might survive this will be in self sufficient communities that grow their own food and have doctors and dentists among them. But they will have to use 19th century tech for everything. Even the amish cheat and accept lifts in other peoples cars and use their cell phones too. There will be none of that if these monsters succeed with this. Think you can survive in a bartering system using carefully stashed gold and silver coins? That will be illegal and the penalty will be your disappearance.

David Millikan
David Millikan
11 months ago

Now Banks are being WEAPONIZED against AMERICANS just like the DOJ, FBI, IRS, CDC, and every other Federal agency to appease Fascist democrats and Communist China.
Banks believe that will save them.
They are WRONG.

Jimmy P
Jimmy P
11 months ago

Tell me again how the Left can’t be anything but downright EVIL.

11 months ago

I have used credit unions for over 50 years, they are owned by the members, customers and offer all services of banks.

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
11 months ago

Very important work accomplished with this article Kevin .I believe that the core of the issue is in what Michael Ross, Alliance Defending Freedom said about banks receiving bailouts and public benefits from the government and the taxpayers — and they do that so that they can serve the public. And following that line of thought it is actually encouraging in the sense of making it clear who and what is right and wrong concerning the matter when Mr.Ross says — ” So when they ( the banks ) turn around and start weaponizing these financial services to cut off people with views they don’t like, they’re breaking the public trust.” What is profound in all of this is how Truth will prevail, and that this is an issue where Truth is being put to a test — so it is good to take a stand in the defense of Truth . Well Done Mr. Stocklin for making these issues clear ! Respect for Liberty !

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
11 months ago

To Copy China

11 months ago

Fascism at work! Thanks to the left!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
11 months ago

“Under my mattress” is looking safer and safer. I take care of my 92-year old mom who reimburses me each month for expenses from her prescriptions, food, snacks, etc. so I’m still keeping receipts for the day the IRS calls me about “unreported income”!

11 months ago

LOL! Yes! Just imagine the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia getting notified on his cell phone that his account is locked due to “violations of social credit conditions — transaction denied”. Then he turns around and orders a complete embargo of Saudi oil to the entire world until every single non-OPEC leader of the G20 comes personally and publicly to Saudi Arabia to grovel at his feet and beg forgiveness as it is televised world-wide.

Obviously, the leaders of countries will be exempt from the social credit score conditions that will apply to the world’s peasants (all of us), but it would be hysterical if some idiot bureaucrat fat-fingered the wrong parameters into someone’s profile with the power to pushback hard on the global economy.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
11 months ago

The banks are marching to the tune of the World Economic Forum and their global government dreams.
Now “we the people” are regulated by unelected government agencies funded by taxpayers but led by bureaucrats who do not depend on voter’s consent and a President who rules by executive order and corporations that dictate what is right and wrong.
Welcome to the brave new world. Stand up and be counted or say goodbye to American freedoms that made us the light of the world.
Go back to church. Call your representatives and demand they do their jobs.
Demand the Constitution and laws of the land be enforced or welcome to slavery!

Helena, Montana / November 3, 2020: Woman election official directing voter where to park and vote, man in vehicle holding ballot, voting from car outside polling station, poll worker
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