capitalism crimes Social Issues

Bank of America Cuts Ties With Private Prison Industry, Immigration Detention Centers

Bank of America, one of the last big Wall Street banks to fund the private prison industry, announced Wednesday that it would be exiting the detention industry.

The move comes one day after bank officials toured the Homestead center — a private shelter near Miami that has been under attack for detaining migrant children for long periods in poor conditions. It’s run by Caliburn, a detention company partly financed by Bank of America. A report from the Miami Herald in May revealed the bank provided the shelter a loan of $380 million and a $75 million revolving credit line.

“We have decided to exit the relationship’’ with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said Wednesday in an interview. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made.’’

The move followed a review by the bank’s environmental, social and governance, or ESG, committee, which included site visits and consultation with clients, civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts and academics. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender also met with its internal Hispanic and black leaders.

The company will stop its activities in the industry as soon as it can, while meeting contractual obligations, said Finucane, who leads Bank of America’s ESG efforts.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. took a similar step in March, breaking off its relationship with the industry after deciding it was too risky, and Wells Fargo & Co. is also halting loans to the industry. Protesters have been urging bank executives to back away from the business, and shares of several prison companies slumped last week after presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted about her plan to get rid of them.“The broader issues are the need for reforms in the criminal justice system and immigration,” Finucane said.

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