Banks like Citigroup and Bank of America are apparently facing an uphill battle when it comes to getting what they need from government organizations — and in this case, specifically the Securities and Exchange Commission.
What's happening here?
Citigroup — as well as Bank of America — is the latest major bank reportedly facing heavy Republican pushback after the bank announced in April that it would cease financing manufacturers of "military-style" guns for civilian use and to help prevent future gun violence.
According to a Friday Bloomberg report, Republican SEC appointee Michael Piwowar — one of three Republican SEC appointees on the Republican-dominated committee — recently took Citigroup to task over its refusal to lend to gun manufacturers.
During what was supposed to be a fairly routine April 24 meeting about derivatives, Piwowar and the other four members of the SEC met with Citigroup executives and the conversation reportedly turned into a lecture on guns and social policy.
According to Bloomberg, Piwowar was "glowering and speaking emphatically" during the meeting, and reminded the Citigroup execs that they were given "billions in government bailout money after the financial crisis."
Bloomberg reported that some of the group's execs took Piwowar's words as a "thinly veiled threat," noting that Piwowar reportedly said that while he was aware Citigroup wanted the Securities and Exchange Commision to "ease regulations on derivatives and proprietary trading," the group might "have trouble finding the votes" on the Republican-majority commission.
Bloomberg noted that Piwowar declined to comment on the report.
Piwowar isn't the only unhappy one, apparently, and the list keeps on growing.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo penned letters in April to the CEOs of both Citigroup and Bank of America, which reportedly admonished the banks for trying to utilize "market power" in order to manipulate and "manage social policy."
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) led an April letter, calling for the General Services Administration to rebid its contract with Citigroup over the company's stance on lending to gun manufacturers.