AMAC Action just concluded a five-month call-to-action campaign where we asked our members to contact executives at America’s largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, to tell them to respect constitutionally protected civil liberties.
Working with the Free Enterprise Project, which is part of the National Center for Public Policy Research, AMAC Action wanted to expose JP Morgan Chase for their assault on the free speech rights of fossil fuel companies and arms manufacturers and hold them accountable for their actions. This assault included de-banking and denying service to these customers simply because their beliefs do not align with JP Morgan Chase’s leadership’s leftist politics.
As if stomping on the free speech rights of their customers wasn’t enough, the bank took it a step further by recently closing the account of a non-profit religious liberty organization headed by a former US Ambassador. To re-open the account, Chase demanded sensitive information regarding donors and a list of criteria the organization used to determine its support for political candidates. Perhaps the bank was trolling for others to add to their list of customers to harass and persecute?
AMAC Action’s campaign mirrored the Free Enterprise Project’s effort. Our members contacted Chase’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Co-CEOs of Consumer and Community Banking, CEO of Business Banking, Corporate Communications, Associate Corporate Secretary, and Investor Relations and told them to adhere to the standards for respecting free speech and religious liberty in the workplace as scored by the Viewpoint Diversity Business Index.
According to their website, the Viewpoint Diversity Score works “to preserve the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion for all Americans”, and the organization “brings together leaders from business, civil society, and academia who are committed to preserving the freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief in the market, workplace, and the public square.”
Our campaign’s intent was to call out JP Morgan Chase leadership for allowing these civil rights-stifling policies, raise awareness of these practices for the bank’s customers, and attempt to nudge the company to work on attaining favorable scores for supporting these rights. When the campaign ended, AMAC members sent a total of over 91,700 messages to the executives.
So, what exactly was accomplished by this campaign and why does corporate advocacy matter? One needs to look at the Bud Light fiasco and the corresponding loss of its market share to gauge the effectiveness of customers rising up and saying, “No more!” to corporate woke policies. In another corporate advocacy call-to-action campaign launched last year, AMAC members told Walt Disney World Company executives and board members exactly how little they thought of the company’s woke direction. Within two weeks of launching this campaign in the spring of 2022, and while AMAC members were sending 145,119 emails and making over 3,500 phone calls, Disney fired its head of corporate affairs. Think the voice of AMAC members was not heard by Disney? Think again.
The JP Morgan Chase campaign hopefully created an “Ah-ha” moment for AMAC members who carry a Chase credit card, hold stock in the company, maintain a savings account, or have their retirement funds managed by the bank. For the thousands who took advantage of the platform AMAC Action provides to amplify their voice and participated in the campaign, perhaps they used the experience to talk about the dangers powerful companies like Chase pose to civil rights and the influence they hold over polite society with their families, neighbors, co-workers, and people with whom they worship.
JP Morgan Chase’s 2023 Viewpoint Diversity Score which was released in May, is abysmal. Our campaign launched in late April and ran through late September. We will see if Chase executives, after receiving tens of thousands of messages from AMAC members and other organizations, are as tone deaf when it comes to listening to their customers and responding to their needs as their counterparts in companies like Anheuser-Busch are when the 2024 scoring is released.
One final note – at JP Morgan Chase’s shareholder meeting in May, David Bahnsen, the Bahnsen Group’s founder and managing partner and who is also a JP Morgan Chase shareholder, brought a resolution forward that challenged the bank over the cancellation of accounts held by conservative organizations and individuals. Bahnsen’s resolution failed, but he nonetheless claimed victory noting that JP Morgan Chase is now “petrified to discriminate against accounts on the basis of religion or politics.”