The second largest bank in America closed the accounts of a conservative, pro-life Christian charity that opposes same sex marriage. Was it because the bank disagrees with their religious views? Here’s the full story.
Support for Uganda
Indigenous Advanced Ministries is a nonprofit organization based out of Memphis, Tennessee.
The group provides support to orphaned children in Uganda.
Closed Without Warning
Without warning or explanation, the ministry was told by Bank of America that they were “operating in a business type we have chosen not to service,” and their accounts were closed.
Thirty Day Notice
Despite the organization’s credit and deposit accounts, they were told the accounts would be closed in 30 days.
In another letter, the bank said its “risk profile no longer aligns with the bank’s risk tolerance.”
The ministry held two accounts with the bank for almost ten years.
One account belonged to the ministry and the second account was associated with a church in Memphis that supported the ministry along with other overseas missions.
New Account Started Issues
Recently, a third account was opened for a business by the name of Indigenous Advance Customer Center.
This was the ministry’s for-profit counterpart.
On the website for Indigenous Advance Customer Center, they offer data entry, accounting, and collections services.
Bank of America told Fox News that the ministry’s accounts were closed because of their “internal debt collection policy” that doesn’t support accounts offering debt collection services.
Per the Indigenous Advance Customer Center’s website, they help their clients “recover overdue invoices.”
Bank of America Speaks Out
A Bank of America spokesman, Bill Halldin, said the bank was “proud to provide banking services to non-profit organizations affiliated with diverse faith communities.”
He also added that “Religious beliefs are not a factor in any account-closing decision.”
No Debt Collectors
Halldin also said, “Our U.S. division that serves small businesses doesn’t offer banking services to organizations that provide debt collection services.”
When the accounts were closed, Indigenous had around $270,000 at Bank of America.
They were forced to find a new company to bank with.
Proud to Partner With Faith Communities
Halldin said that “religious beliefs” are not a factor when the bank chooses to close an account.
He added that Bank of America was “proud to provide banking services to non-profit organizations affiliated with diverse faith communities.”
We Want Answers
The founder of Indigenous Advance, Steve Happ, tried reaching out to the bank for answers, but without success.
They Don’t Provide Answers
“I asked them, ‘What type of business do you think we are?’ and they wouldn’t answer me,” Happ told The Christian Post.
He said he was told by the bank, “I’m sorry, we cannot give you that information.”
Happ said the bank’s actions “significantly disrupted” the ministry’s outreach and impact in Uganda.
No Money in the Bank
Not only did the Indigenous Advance staff not receive their payroll checks, the organization also wasn’t able to send donations to ministry partners.
Left Without Food
Happ said the Ugandans who depend on Indigenous Advanced Ministries for their next meal were left without food to eat.
Uganda Depends on Them
According to Happ, the people of Uganda “live day to day, trying to find where they’re going to find their next meal.”
De-Banked Over Beliefs
The Alliance Defending Freedom was outraged over the move by Bank of America. They said, “You shouldn’t have to fear being de-banked because of your beliefs.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jonathan Weiss. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.