Monday, April 23, 2012

Bank Of America, The Second Amendment, And A 46 Year Relationship (updated)

On Friday, Kelly McMillan of McMillan International, a manufacturer of firearms and some of the best stocks going, posted on Facebook about the treatment of his company by Bank of America. The bank has not issued any statement or press release refuting Mr. McMillan's version of things. I do have an email in to their press relations office for group commercial banking and will post any response that I get.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Bank of America is the product of a merger between San Francisco-based Bank of America and Charlotte-based NationsBank. Before it took the NationsBank name, it had been NCNB and North Carolina National Bank even before that. While the original Bank of America traces its history back to Amadeo Giannini and early 20th century San Francisco, the real owners of the current Bank of America got their start in 1960 as the North Carolina National Bank and were considered upstarts in the NC banking industry.

McMillan's full unedited post is below:
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market 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 possible 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 what 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 Fox 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 bear 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
 My family has had a 46 year relationship with Bank of America and its predecessor NCNB. From checking and savings accounts, car loans, safe deposit boxes, to the mortgage on my mother's house, we have dealt with Bank of American in one form or another since 1966. Indeed, my mom had one of the first BankAmericards back in the late 1960s. We now know this as a VISA card.

After my mom's death in 2008, I kept one account open with Bank of America out of nostalgia for the length of that relationship. As a financial planner I should have remembered that there is no such a thing as nostalgia in banking.

I will begin winding down my banking relationship with Bank of America this week. The first to go will be the BassPro-branded VISA card which is actually a Bank of America VISA card. Then I will begin transferring any remaining bank drafts from Bank of America to my other banks. Once this is done, the remaining checking account will be closed and thus end our 46 year banking relationship. I will be letting Bank of America management know why I closed the account.

I most certainly cannot tell you what to do nor would I. However, I would ask that you consider whether you want to keep your money at a bank (or any of their subsidiaries such as Merrill Lynch) that doesn't respect you or your Second Amendment values. You know what I plan to do. What you do is up to you.

UPDATE: As noted in the first paragraph, I reached out to Bank of America for a comment on the McMillan Group International situation. I received a reply from Anne Pace of Bank of America. Her email didn't have any signature line so I don't know her exact title or position in the firm. Her verbatim response is below:
We want to let you know that we have heard the 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.
In a follow-up email, Ms. Pace identified herself as one of the bank's spokespeople.

UPDATE II: Kelly McMillan has a follow-up statement on Facebook regarding the statement put out by Bank of America that they don't discriminate against the firearms industry.
In response to Bank of America's public statement:

The statement we [McMillan] posted was an accurate account of the events that transpired late last week. McMillan Group has been in good standing with B of A and a loyal customer for the past 12 years. We were told that we must finalize all of our accounts because we manufacture firearms.

McMillan cannot speak for Bank of America's company wide policies, but we can speak out about our personal experiences.

We [McMillan] kindly suggest that if Corporate Bank of America has no policy against conducting business with firearms manufactures, then they should communicate these policies with their regional Vice Presidents and other management.

UPDATE III: I closed out my BassPro Outdoor VISA from Bank of America this afternoon so the first step has been taken. I will be closing out the checking account as soon as everything has cleared and I've moved the remaining check drafts to another account at another bank.

I think I will use the money in this account to pay for my trip to the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando this September. It seems only fitting.


  1. I just realized my Motley Fool's Visa was acquired by BoA in the late 200x's. Looks like I need to shop for a new Visa card.


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  3. How many FFL’s are reporting being dumped by BofA? Certainly this could be the first customer in a culling of customers from firearms related business, OR it could just be that the account rep really didn’t like the tone the client took with him/her. This is he said / she said.

  4. Is this a test case for American Banks that have to answer to the Federal Government? If it goes well, will ALL banks be induced by the government to withdraw financial services to known gun owners, manufacturers. If that can be done it would end gun manufaacturing in America. Suspicious former cop that I am, I smell a rat.

  5. I got rid of Citibank credit cards for the same reasons!

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  7. I heard about this, think bass pro should get another bank, a noncommy bank, since that's all democrats are anymore. I think American quarter horse should not allow their visa cards to be asscoited with bank of America either. I need to pay mine off, though I think is fitting to buy my future guns,ammo and such with this card. They can suck on that, the political wussies.

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  10. Is this a test case for American Banks that have to answer to the Federal Government? If it goes well, will ALL banks be induced by the government to withdraw financial services to known gun owners, manufacturers. If that can be done it would end gun manufaacturing in America.

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