Christian Charity Claims Bank of America Closed Account Over ‘Religious Views’: Memphis-based non-profit Indigenous Advance Ministries (IAM) which purports pro-life and anti-same-sex relationship values on its website filed a complaint to the Tennessee Attorney-General’s office after Bank of America (BofA) allegedly closed its account over a disagreement with its ‘religious views.’
The organization which claims to have had a banking relationship with BofA since 2015 claims the shutdown of its account temporarily prevented them from paying staff salaries and disrupted a planned mission trip to Uganda.
The BofA denied the ‘debanking’ claims according to the DailyMail, saying “religious beliefs are not a factor in any account-closing decision”
Campaigners however are requesting more information on how firms pick which account to close, noting that instances of “political and religious “debunking” appear to be on the rise”
In January 2023, IAm, formerly known as World Shine USA, opened a new account with the bank. The bank warned the firm in April that its account would be closed in 30 days noting that the company was “operating in a business type we have chosen not to service at Bank of America”.
Following a request from IAM for an explanation, the bank sent a second letter stating that the company’s “risk profile no longer aligned with the bank’s risk tolerance.”
“I am concerned that Bank of America canceled our and our partners’ accounts because it disagrees with our religious views,” IAM told the Tennessee attorney general’s office.
A Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) representing IAM in its case asserts that the organization has remained true to its original objective and does not promote any political agenda after opening its accounts with Bank of America.
The lawsuit alleges that the bank may have transgressed both its own “Code of Conduct,” which states that it encourages “diversity and inclusion” with regard to religion, and consumer protection rules against unfair and misleading acts.
“No American should have to worry that a financial institution will deny them service based on their religious beliefs, but Bank of America appears to have done just that with Indigenous Advance,” said Jeremy Tedesco, ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement.