Citi becomes first big bank to press clients to restrict gun sales

- Maret 22, 2018

Citigroup Thursday announced a new policy aimed at pushing its clients to place restrictions on the sale of firearms, becoming the nation’s first large lender to take action on guns.

The move by Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, comes two days before major nationwide rallies on gun control are scheduled to take place.

The bank will require retail clients to only sell guns if the customer has passed a background check, to restrict sales to people under 21, and to refuse to sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines. Bump stocks enable a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster.

The policy “is not centered on an ideological mission to rid the world of firearms,” Ed Skyler, Citi’s head of global public affairs, said in a blog post. “That is not what we seek. There are millions of Americans who use firearms for recreational and other legitimate purposes, and we respect their constitutional right to do so.


“But we want to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands,” said Skyler, who served under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City for eight years. Bloomberg is a leading gun-control advocate.

Citi says it will no longer do business with clients who decline to go along with the policy.

“We know our clients also care about these issues, and we have begun to engage with them in the hope that they will adopt these best practices over the coming months,” Skyler said. “If they opt not to, we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi.”

The bank will apply these requirements across the firm, he said, including to small businesses, commercial and institutional clients, and credit card partners, Skyler said.

The First National Bank of Omaha announced last month that it would end its relationship with the National Rifle Association. It had issued NRA-branded cards as part of its business.


 

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