Alaska Delegation Urges Senior U.S. Monetary Officials to Review Big Banks’ Discrimination Against the Energy Sector & Alaska Native Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska) yesterday sent a letter to Chairman Jerome Powell and Vice Chair Randy Quarles of the Federal Reserve, Acting U.S. Comptroller of Currency Brian Brooks, and Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, urging these officials to consider regulatory action and oversight of large American financial institutions that are “openly discriminating against some of the most economically disadvantaged regions of America” by refusing financing of domestic energy projects, particularly in Alaska and the Arctic. The Alaska delegation argues that the banks are harming a foundation of the U.S. economy at a time when businesses, workers, and families are already reeling from the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“By denying financing under the guise of reputation risk, these institutions are discriminating against America’s interests, our economic recovery, and our workers, all while utilizing significant federal support and benefits such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance and recently, the benefits from implementing the various Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Small Business Administration (SBA) pandemic relief programs,” the Alaska congressional delegation wrote. “We urge you to review your existing regulatory … authorities to see whether action can and should be taken to either provide the public with information on how these banks’ refusal to lend in these areas is negatively impacting indigenous communities in our state, and whether these actions violate any duty or obligation under federal laws that are relevant to your agencies’ mandate from Congress such as the Community Reinvestment Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, or other similar laws.” 

Since November 2019, five large U.S. banks — Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — have announced policies to stop lending to new oil and gas projects in the Arctic, including in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). On May 7, the Alaska delegation was joined by 33 other members of Congress in sending a letter to President Trump urging his administration to take action against these financial institutions. 

To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.