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Sniper rifle manufacturer alleges political bias by Bank of America

Sniper rifle manufacturer alleges political bias by Bank of America

McMillan International and its affiliates, based in Arizona, manufacture a variety of rifles and accessories, including highly regarding sniper rifles.

A reader called to my attention a Facebook post by McMillan alleging that Bank of America terminated its lending relationship for political reasons based on McMillan’s involvement with firearms manufacturing.  The post is generating plenty of buzz at gun owner forums and Reddit.

Here is the Facebook post [link updated, the original entry was taken down and then put back up]:

McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. [_____], Senior Vice President, Marlet Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an “account analysis” meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.

At this point I interrupted him and asked “Can I possibly save you some time so that you don’t waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer want my business.”
“That is correct” he says.

I replied “That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won’t mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone one I know that BofA is not firearms industry friendly?”

“You have to do what you must” he said.

“So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?”
Mr [___] confirmed that it was. At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing let for him to say.

I think it is import for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment right to keep and bare arms should know when a business does not support these rights. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don’t agree with a business’ political position I can not in good conscience support them. We will soon no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for our products.

Kelly D. McMillan
Director of Operations
McMillan Group International, LLC

I have an e-mail into several media relations contacts at Bank of America and will print any response.

[Note, I removed the name of the BofA employee, but it’s public at the FB link]

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Comments

If that is true, Prof., and I were a Director of BofA, sometime tomorrow there would be a come-to-Jesus meeting about what is business and what is politics, and how those are separate interests.

And Mr. Fox would be looking for another gig.

Rarely does the term “unbelievable” seem more apt. I almost can’t believe this. It is so mind-numbingly stupid that it can’t be for real.

Chilling but clarifying. Clarity is good.

We’re descending into madness. It could never go any other way, I suppose, with the rise of the Left. Thanks to the McCains and Bushes and a generation of RINOs — this is their legacy, i.e., for blindly accommodating the Left at every turn, cutting deals and never defining the battle, sides and issues. Now it’s viral. But at least we know better where we stand.

As I’ve said before, I’m not so sure profit is the driving force with some of these big businesses in the U.S. circa 2012. The media especially so.

Some of these CEOs would rather drive their corporations into the ground as long as they Feel Good about what they’ve done when they’re out on the golf range with their buddies.

The sooner they all go out of business, the better for everyone.

As far as I know, this is the policy of nearly every major lending institution in the US. I know it was HSBC’s policy when I worked for them http://www.hsbc.com/1/PA_esf-ca-app-content/content/assets/sustainability/100210_defence_policy.pdf

    Jay Jones in reply to Awing1. | April 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    The nature of the McMillan groups products haven’t changed in the past decade. They’re best known for their stocks (which I guess could be considered an accessory) but they’ve been manufacturing whole rifles for decades.

    Assuming the story is correct: What changed at BoA?

      Awing1 in reply to Jay Jones. | April 20, 2012 at 12:02 am

      “He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.”

      I don’t know that much about McMillan, but I know that this has been a policy at many banks for at least a decade. You can search “weapons policy” “arms policy” “defense industry policy” or “sector risk policy” with any major bank and find, if not an actual policy on point, individuals complaining that they were denied loans based on their being involved in the arms sector. Many of these stories date back more than 5 years.

      CPT. Charles in reply to Jay Jones. | April 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

      What’s changed…? That’s easy, almost all major banks now exist at the sufferance of the Treasury Dept… and The Fed.

      Please recall that many banks begged for ‘relief’ or were *ordered* to accept ‘help’ from the TreasDept… everyone in that boat has to pay attention to phone calls, memos, or emails from inside The Beltway.

      If somebody from on high says, ‘walk away from these people’, you *will* do as your told, or be ‘stress-tested’ into direct supervision.

      The Central Planner-types inside DC don’t need to control the entire ‘free-market’ system, all they need do is control the critical ‘choke points’ that the system relies on.

      I suspect many readers of this blog could name who’s now wearing an iron collar around their corporate necks. Or have gleefully, and freely, put one on in return for access to the corridors of power, largess, or ‘tax favors’.

    Thanks for the link to the HSBC policy. I read it, and it’s an obvious bow to political correctness. Their policy was first adopted in 2000, so I don’t know what the driving issue of the time was, but it would have been near the end of Clinton’s second term (so ‘lame duck’). If BofA’s policy is similar and has been around roughly as long, then McMillan should have been aware of this going in, but maybe not since they weren’t in the weapons business per se at the beginning.

    I stopped using my BofA credit cards back when they started their “credit cards for illegals” program a few years ago. I also recently refinanced from a BofA mortgage to one I got through Greenlight (very happy, if anyone’s interested).

    All I have at BofA now is personal checking, but I’d be willing to move that, too, if it rurns out this policy is relatively unique among the major banks, but it sounds like it may not be.

    I don’t get why a financial institution would refuse business from a company providing a legal product. According to the policy, HSBC would not be able to do business with any leading defense contractor either. Very strange. If I were a shareholder, I would be very interested in why my company had a poicy like this.

    Sanddog in reply to Awing1. | April 21, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I’m a FFL holder and I can confirm it was very difficult to find a company with reasonable rates for merchant services. This is why so many dealers, particularly online, will charge 2-3% more for credit card purchases.

Something is seriously wrong with the way business is being conducted in this country. Notice that all this seems to have begun during a Democrat administration.

Is there a connection? I can’t say so for sure but something surely smells…

    Ragspierre in reply to GrumpyOne. | April 20, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Note that Awning1’s citation was to a 2000 policy.

    This is NOT new. A lot of Collectivist pap gets taught in business schools…even engineering schools. It is pervasive.

    And, look, in a market system, I am actually OK with it, and so should be any capitalist.

    If Ben and Jerry’s want to be Collectivist freaks, they have a right. They can compete, and where they find a willing market, cool. I will eat BlueBell…quite happily…and never give them my business.

    That is kind of the essence of a capitalist system; markets are about choice.

      quiznilo in reply to Ragspierre. | April 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

      And in a free market, we have a right to criticize these companies, who chose to excercise their freedom to advance political causes that run counter to my way of life.

      And I am free to be outraged by their political stance, and not only withhold from doing any business with them but also to encourage all of my friends to likewise not do any business with them, and also any strangers I happen to meet on the street!

      Which is exactly what we’re doing here.

        Ragspierre in reply to quiznilo. | April 20, 2012 at 1:25 am

        Oh, ABSO-STINKING-LOOTLY…!!!

        You and I have a right…and I’d assert…an obligation to act according to what we know is right.

        That CERTAINLY involves teaching and persuading anyone who will listen to eschew firms we know hold views inimical to ours.

        It even means letting people who hold those views know WHY we will not deal with them.

        FINALLY, I think it means we set up competitors if there are none…if it makes sound business sense.

Are the people who brought us Fast and Furious involved in this decision—in particular, by abusing their regulatory powers? Is this some of Obama’s “gun control under the radar”?

Remember, he is counting on having “more flexibility” after the election.

I’ll start off with the statement that this is an issue I find myself squarely unopinionated on.

Many banks have had this policy for some time. I can’t say for certain that it isn’t political, but I know many banks also have a policy against lending to gambling institutions. Both industries offer a lot of legal complexities at the state, federal and international level that could get a lending institution into trouble. While it’s possible there’s some political motive, it’s also possible that, from a risk-management perspective, lending to weapons manufacturers just isn’t worth it.

That being said, if you’re going to call your bank Bank of America, you probably ought not discriminate against one of the most American businesses there is, small arms manufacturing.

    quiznilo in reply to Awing1. | April 20, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Are you trying to tell me that BofA would turn down a line of credit to Lockheed? Or perhaps the maker of the M1 tank, General Dynamics? Northrop Grumman Newport News who built the USS Ronald Reagan?

    How is a government contract for a weapon any different than a government contract for a street paver, from a legal or economic point of view? What are the issues involved with selling hunting rifles to citizens versus selling lawn mowers? Tell me specifically, if you’re so sure that this has nothing to do with the politics of the banks.

      Awing1 in reply to quiznilo. | April 20, 2012 at 12:53 am

      I explicitly stated that I’m not sure in either direction. Risks with weapons financing are unique because of the strictness of international arms treaties, and how broad arms legislation can be in many countries. The punishment for violating these treaties can be expulsion from a member country or being blocked from accessing international payment systems, essentially a death sentence for an international bank. Most of these banks do work with larger arms manufacturers, which is why you wont see a blanket policy like HSBC has at most banks, they just maintain it as an internal prohibition in middle-market lending. Their larger investment sections will deal with major arms manufacturers because they have the resources to properly structure the transaction. In small and middle-market commercial lending, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to do so.

        Ragspierre in reply to Awing1. | April 20, 2012 at 1:35 am

        DAMN good point WRT the regulatory needle so many American firms have to thread.

        This is, of course, ONE huge reason the Obamabanana Republic will prevent capital formation in the U.S., and HENCE a real recovery.

        Regulation has been exploding, and American businesses are ALL under that gun.

        See Guitars, Gibson.

          Awing1 in reply to Ragspierre. | April 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

          The regs these banks are under are insane. I’m not as familiar with arms regs as I wish I was, because they’re just so complex, but I know they’re much stricter than the gambling regs that I am familiar with.

          Under federal gambling laws, the banks are prohibited from processing any transactions I make with an internet gambling site, under threat of fines and being removed from the ACH system (death for a bank). It’s apparently irrelevant that the underlying payment is perfectly legal. Now the banks ask every company they work with “are you really a secret gambling site?”. It’s beyond ridiculous, all to stop me from playing some Texas Hold-em. I can only imagine what loops you have to go through for arms manufacturing.

    Lina Inverse in reply to Awing1. | April 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

    This still brings up the question of “why now?”

    It’s like being a little bit pregnant. Once they started making complete rifles, the bank’s theoretical exposure turns full on. Due to relatively recent State Department actions (I think during the Bush Administration), even export of accessories is controlled and requires government blessing.

    Why would the BoA have a threshold of “too much” complete gun manufacturing?

    (Well, incompetence in defining and/or executing a policy is enough of an explanation….)

I can completely see Bank of America doing something like this. Their business model has been going downhill for about 2 years now, and I encourage EVERYBODY I do business with NOT to do business with BoA. They screwed their best customers in order to reduce their credit exposure, reducing credit to those customers who were good risks in order to not have to write off debt against their sub-primers where they were making more money.

I’ll plug Chase Bank as being willing to work with Firearms Manufacturers. They’ve never given my family’s company grief about our firearms component or military production lines. They DID give us grief about our Automotive work during the Government Motors takeover though because they thought we were automotive-heavy (which I had been saying for YEARS) because they wanted to know how we were going to maintain profits.

This is exactly the sort of underhanded tactic I would expect from the current administration: a push to cause the big banks to shy away from firearms manufacturers and increase prices, thus making firearms more expensive, thus reducing the demand, and killing the manufacturers in the process. Fortunately, a lot of the big players have seen this coming for a while and have both minor treasure hordes and cultivated relationships with investors sufficient to “privately finance” everything short of major expansions of operations.

Rags is right, though. Tomorrow sometime there should be a “come to Jesus” moment between the BoA Board and the Management as to business vs. political decisions or there will be a VERY loud “come to Jesus” REBELLION at the annual meeting by the shareholders who can actually READ a 8K statement as to which portions of BoA’s portfolio are making money (ahem-business banking) vs. which ones are still losing their shirts (ahem-mortgages).

This is an orchestrated effort by the Left, including new initiatives from the UN to make international treaties that will result in taking away people’s right to bear arms. They don’t like the little people to be able to defend themselves. They want only criminals and government to be armed. Then the population is much more compliant.

Newt understands this and has a comprehensive response that supports the right of ALL PEOPLE to bear arms. His NRA speech will change the whole landscape of the 2d Amendment debate.

The only way for The People to respond effectively is to team up. That is why Newt’s candidacy is a game-changer. That’s why the GOPE et al don’t want NEwt. Because with Newt, WE THE PEOPLE will protect our rights.

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” -Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Right to bear Arms is not about hunting. It is not a right “granted” by the Constitution or the government; it is an inborn, inalienable Right.

If the 2d Amendment matters to you, Newt in incomparably the best candidate.

Find out for yourself:
NEWT GINGRICH NRA 2012 ADDRESS
http://conservatives4newt.blogspot.com/2012/04/newt-gingrich-full-2012-nra-address.html

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… and which party is having their national convention at BofA Stadium ?

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Neo. | April 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

    good point … they made that move earlier this year. And Valerie Jarrett had praise for CEO Moynihan a couple years ago.

    “…“He has been willing to speak out bravely in his industry on the need for reform measures,” says Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s liaison to corporate America who has met with Moynihan at the White House several times.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-13/moynihan-becomes-obama-s-top-wall-street-ally-on-financial-rules-overhaul.html

    With the billions being redistributed, it sure seems to pay off well to invest in being friends with the White House. The slippery back room mergers of DC and Fortune 500’s, has opened a secret passage of influence through the walls of separation our constitution established.

    Soros profits off Petrobras, with the President aiding Brazil exploration and saying the US wants to be their best customer.

    GM unions profit mightily, with Trumka being a regular White House visitor, and Obama declaring the union goals and his are one and the same. (President to “we the people” is just his side job)

    Boeing goes to a less union friendly state and gets held up by Holder. … and so it goes … on and on.

A better question; Why would anyone want to piss off someone who makes SNIPER RIFLES?

    Lina Inverse in reply to Towson Lawyer. | April 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I know you’re making a joke, but the funny thing is, the responsible run owning community is remarkably law abiding. In this case, becoming a good sniper/long range high power rifle shooter is hard work, and that just doesn’t tend to go along with criminality.

Juba Doobai! | April 20, 2012 at 5:45 am

BoA just shot itself in the foot.

I know the Professor abhors boycotts, but I intend to stop using B of A whenever I possibly can, starting with their credit cards, of which I possess 4, all balance free.

That is my only contact with them and it will start this minute.

Their loss.

Bank of America … been screwing people since the 60’s, when they had a monopoly on US soldier banking, OCONUS, through the PX exchange system. I was screwed by them several times while deployed, mostly regarding timely access to my money, and today I enjoy any pain they might incur. Jerks may not “like” guns, but they dang sure “liked” soldiers’ money.

B of A likes the government eat, but when it spits back at them, they stick it to their customers … witness the mandated limit on card transaction fees and their response of trying to whack each card holder $5 per month for the privilege of holding their money whether the card is used or not.

They have problems today due to political interference with business … I weep. Bwahahahahaha.

Midwest Rhino | April 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

It sure seems these corporate moves must be politically and financially motivated. They must be measuring their bottom line when they take these actions. That might come partly from government bailouts or other favors, and partly from an agitated left that will support their partisanship.

When Moynihan comes out in favor of Obama policies, has he already brokered a deal on things like withdrawing from business with weapons manufacturers, and doing so in a timely fashion to help Obama’s campaign? What is involved in being a Wall Street ally to Obama?

I got stuck w/BOA as my mortgage holder after they absorbed Countrywide. Bad customer service get even worse. If a payment was more than a day late, I’d get harassing calls from “Richard in Dallas” (really Mohindir in Mumbai) asking ME to verify my ID (for security purposes) by giving him my SSN. When I told him no, for MY security purposes, he’d just keep pressing until I hung up on him. Even the supervisors I demanded to speak with were rude and inflexible. These calls would come EVERY DAY until the check I’d already mailed reached them.

I tried to re-fi with them (I owe less than half of the house’s value and want to cash out for repairs/improvements). After stringing me along for MONTHS, demanding more and more documentation, including stuff they’d already asked for, they sent me a rejection. I’m now going through a private mortgage broker who’s much more customer-friendly and willing to work with me.

EFF YOU, BOA. Every time I hear something bad about them I rejoice. I cannot wait to send them my last payment.

Full disclosure: I sent the Prof. the initial (maybe one of the initial)link(s). I’m good friends with Kelly McMillan’s son from when we were in the military.

Here’s what I don’t get:

Why the change? McMillan hasn’t gone from very expensive rifles to mustard gas. Their guns are prohibitively priced. Only the best funded military units tend to get them. The same goes for the LE units that they supply. Their product requires much training to get the value out of it. Think “Fast and Furious” I’d want thugs to have their weapons. In their hands it would be as accurate as a $400 bolt action rifle bought anywhere. Them dropping a few grand more would mean they have less guns.

I understand if BoA had an issue with some of their international sales (all which are cleared by the Dept. of State). If they were heavily invested in one country that didn’t like another, and that country’s elite units had McMillan products I can see the possible conflict. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s not like they are pumping out AKs.

Here’s where BoA might have overplayed their hand: McMillan is a small company (all the branches added up have less than 100 employees) compared to BoA’s business. But they do cater to rich gun aficionados. And losing a couple of those guys might make a bigger dent. Not to mention if the NRA acts on this.

But back to the initial question: Why the change?

Some probably unrelated trivia:

McMillan’s major competitor is H-S Precision, a company which a few years ago prominently featured Lon Horiuchi endorsing their products.

Who is Lon Horiuchi? Well, within a hour of setting up, this member of the FBI’s Hostage “Rescue” Team had killed or mortally wounded (absent medical treatment they did eventually get) every adult at Ruby Ridge. While he was “just following orders” from his superiors (which ones were of course never identified), they amounted to “Kill them all, God will know his own” and were clearly illegal. I for one count his killing of Viki Weaver as nothing less than felony murder.

It certainly would appear to violate gun safety Rule 4 (“Identify your target, and what is behind it.”) … except in his after action report he sketched out how he knew some adult, by process of elimination Viki Weaver, was where she was and behind where he fired upon Kevin Harris. The only reason I don’t believe it was deliberate is because it would have been a really difficult shot and you can’t really depend on that path of a bullet once it hits a body.

He also was at the denouncement of Waco, 19 years ago yesterday. He may have fired on those trying to escape the fire, fired brass of his rifle’s type was found at his location, and the survivors I believe credibly claimed they were fired upon.

Bottom line, to the firearms community and beyond this guy is a US equivalent of, say, one of those notoriously brutal SS death camp guards. Using him for endorsements makes a statement, one H-S Precision did not run from after getting a lot of flack.

Anyway, H-S Precision as of a while ago was a company favored by the “civilian” (heavily armed, but official civilian) part of the Federal government; I wonder if they’ve had bank problems….

Arms Merchant | April 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

BofA sucks. They have historically had awful customer service. The only reason I dealt with them is because they sponsored an airline card that I wanted.

Chuck Skinner is right — they lowered my credit limit in a move that hurt my credit score for no good reason. However, Chase is not much better. They refused to negotiate a refi with me on a rental–I wasn’t looking for a break, just a restructuring so everyone could get paid. Instead they forced us into a short sale so they could collect on default insurance.

The big banks take our money, dance to the Fed’s tune, and ignore us. Screw ’em.

Yet another great example of why there should have been no bailouts. Creative destruction may have brought down several big banks, but in their wake, the better-run regional and local banks would have taken up the slack. This is what we get with the “must regulate everything” mentality.

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that BofA is managing Obama’s home mortgage modification program, and that the Democratic Convention is in Charlotte, BofA’s headquarters? Does anybody know how much money BofA has given to the Democrats?

The story didn’t smell right to me, so I sent email to Bank of America. This is their response (which I understand is also on their Facebook page):

“Thank you for providing the additional links and glad you brought this to our attention.

We want to let you know that we hear your comments and questions regarding one of our customers. While we cannot discuss the details of any individual client we work with, we can assure you the allegations being made here are completely false. Bank of America does not have a policy that prohibits us from banking clients in this industry. In fact, we have numerous, longstanding customers in the industry.

We are also extremely proud of our support of the US military and reject any assertion to the contrary. We count as clients many companies that provide for our nation’s defense. We employ thousands of veterans, Guardsmen, and Reservists, and plan to increase our hiring this year.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us again by email. Thank you for choosing Bank of America.

Sincerely,

J. Casillas Bank of America”

Also, see Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/bankofamerica.asp

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Hal Jordan. | April 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I emailed multiple media relations contacts at BofA, and not one responded.

      On the “Contact Us” page on their website, I told them my state, and on the next page I selected “Privacy and Security” from the drop down list. There was a one day turnaround on each email. That and your experience make no sense. This is a horrible PR story for them. They should have a team of Vice Presidents dispatched to chat on talk shows and make comments for the evening news.

I know I’m new here but I saw the topic and I had to jump in and post.

I’ve got a really good friend who has worked for all of his professional career (white collar) in the gun industry. He’s telling me that the negative BOA incidents, although well blogged, are actually few and far between. He knows a bunch of industry related companies that have a good relationship with BOA.

It seems that NSSF is looking into the whole BOA thing: http://www.nssf.org/Industry/

I’m curious to see what NSSF comes up with since they represent the gun industry not BOA or the banking industry.

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