NEW YORK CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The chairman of faith-based nonprofit National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF) last week said major banking institution JPMorgan Chase and Co. cut ties with his organization without reason, then allegedly offered to consider reopening the account if he provided them with the nonprofit’s donor list and the political candidates they support.
In an October 6 op-ed for the Washington Examiner, NCRF chairman and former Ambassador-At-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said he and NCRF executive director decided to open an account at JPMorgan Chase “because of its national footprint and the multigenerational banking relationships our team had with the bank.”
Companies, not just government, must protect our 1st Amendment rights, including religious freedom. @TheNCRF #religiousfreedom
— Sam Brownback (@SamuelBrownback) October 6, 2022
While Brownback, a former governor of Kansas who also served in state and federal legislature, said the experience with Chase “was initially very positive,” that positivity came to an abrupt halt when the bank allegedly decided to scuttle the religious freedom advocacy group’s account just three weeks after it was opened.
According to Brownback, NCRF “received a letter notifying us that Chase had decided to ‘end their relationship’” with the organization, and “actually closed our account before we received the letter.”
“To this day, the NCRF does not have a clear reason as to why our account was closed after only three weeks,” he said. “We certainly hadn’t made any transactions in that short amount of time that would have triggered any regulatory red flags.”
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“We were surprised at being canceled by Chase,” he wrote. “When our executive director called to see if this was an error, he was informed that ‘a note in the file read that Chase employees were not permitted to provide any further clarifying information to the customer.’”
Slamming Chase for its alleged lack of transparency, Brownback asked why the bank opted to conceal “its reasons and intentions for closing the account of a client that seeks to serve the public good and defend religious freedom for every person in America?”
Former Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom @SamuelBrownback explains how @jpmorgan @chase cancelled the @TheNCRF bank account with zero explanation.#chasedaway
Full Washington Watch interview at https://t.co/9eBvLjU8xd pic.twitter.com/BuktOzHWcq
— Tony Perkins (@tperkins) October 13, 2022
Highlighting the words of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who told the U.S. Senate last month that America is “the greatest country in the world predicated on foundational beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise, the sanctity of the individual, and the promise of equality and opportunity for all,” Brownback argued that the bank’s decision to shutter his nonprofit’s account undercut Dimon’s words.
“[W]hy cancel an organization that exists to protect the most foundational of core American values?” he asked.
At a loss to understand why the religious freedom organization was canceled, NCRF spoke with several employees of the bank who told them the decision was handed down by the “corporate office,” and was final and irrevocable.
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Brownback said he was “shocked and surprised” when the bank allegedly suggested it might reopen the account if provided with details about the nonprofit’s donors and preferred political candidates.
According to the NCRF chairman, a Chase representative “eventually reached out to our executive director and informed him that it would be willing to reconsider doing business with the NCRF if we would provide our donor list, a list of political candidates we intended to support, and a full explanation of the criteria by which we would endorse and support those candidates.”
So JP Morgan de-banked the National Committee for Religious Freedom for inexplicable reasons but then said they’d let them back in if they SHARED THEIR DONOR LIST. pic.twitter.com/i4qfbhjFzO
— Rachel Bovard (@rachelbovard) October 13, 2022
Calling the alleged offer “entirely inappropriate,” Brownback wondered whether the bank asks “every customer what politicians they support and why before deciding whether or not to accept them as a customer?”
JPMorgan Chase did not immediately respond to LifeSiteNews’ request for comment.
In his op-ed, the nonprofit chairman said he believes his organization isn’t the first or only one to face “sudden and unexplained account closures” over its religious and political perspective.
“Religious institutions, houses of worship, and people of all faiths should be greatly concerned that their business, credit, or even personal or private bank accounts could likewise be terminated for any or no reason at all,” he said.
JPMorgan Bank has recently sparked criticism for its decision to cut ties with controversial pro-life celebrity Kanye West. It’s unclear what factors ultimately led the bank to shutter West’s account.