Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and all Subcommittee Chairs, sent requests to the nation’s top ten U.S. banks, top five U.S. property and casualty insurance companies, and top five U.S. life insurance companies to inquire about their involvement in the financing of chattel slavery in the U.S.
“We are writing to inquire about what, if any, research and disclosure your bank has conducted with regard to its, or any of its predecessor institutions’, involvement in the financing of chattel slavery in the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “In recent years, multiple financial institutions have been compelled to conduct such research and disclose information in compliance with certain state and local laws. Such compelled disclosures revealed clear historical connections to slavery, in the form of lending capital for the purchase of slaves, accepting enslaved people as collateral for loans, taking ownership of enslaved people in events of default on said loans, providing insurance policies to holders of enslaved persons, and executing payment on those policies in events of injury, fatality, and even liberation of those enslaved persons… the Committee is continuing our review of chattel slavery in the U.S. Financial Services industry. To assist in our inquiry, we request that Bank of America provide written responses to the following.”
See here for a sample letter.
See below for the full list of banks and insurance companies that received requests:
Bank of America Corporation
Capital One Financial Corporation
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
Truist Financial Corporation
Wells Fargo & Co.
Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
Liberty Mutual Group, Inc.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company
Prudential Financial, Inc.
State Farm Insurance
The Allstate Corporation
The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
The Progressive Corporation
On April 2019, Chairwoman Maxine Waters held a hearing entitled “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis.” Committee Democrat asked the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of seven of the nation’s largest financial institutions tough questions on behalf of hardworking consumers. The hearing included tough questions from Committee members, including Subcommittee Chair on Oversight and Investigations, Representative Al Green, “Do you believe that your bank benefited from slavery in some way in terms of its business practices?”
On May 2021, Chairwoman Maxine Waters held a hearing entitled “Holding Megabanks Accountable: An Update on Banking Practices, Programs and Policies.” During the hearing, Chairwoman Waters pressed the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs on their commitments and highlighted the Committee’s commitment to rigorous oversight.
On April 2022, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Representative Al Green held a hearing entitled “An Enduring Legacy: The Role of Financial Institutions in the Horrors of Slavery and the Need for Atonement” to examine the role of financial institutions in the practice of slavery in the United States.