Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Bank Regulator Warns of Reputational Risk from Working with NRA

Magazine article American Banker

N.Y. Bank Regulator Warns of Reputational Risk from Working with NRA

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Haggerty

The New York Department of Financial Services is calling on state-chartered banks and other financial services companies to rethink ties they have with the National Rifle Association and other firearms industry groups in the wake of recent mass shootings.

The department, which said the directive was ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, issued separate guidance to state-regulated insurers and state-regulated banks. The regulator said it was encouraging financial institutions to weigh reputational risk and other corporate responsibility factors in assessing their relationships with groups that promote guns.

"New York may have the strongest gun laws in the country, but we must push further to ensure that gun safety is a top priority for every individual, company, and organization that does business across the state," Cuomo said in a press release.

In a letter to regulated institutions dated Thursday, Maria Vullo, the department's superintendent, noted how financial institutions are the "cornerstone of the communities they serve," and she lauded steps already taken by some firms in response to the shootings.

"There is a fair amount of precedent in the business world where firms have implemented measures in areas such as the environment, healthcare, and civil rights in fulfilling their corporate social responsibility," she said. "The recent actions of a number of financial institutions that severed their ties with the NRA and have taken other actions after the AR-15 style rifle killed 17 people in the school in Parkland, Florida is an example of such a precedent. …

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