Barr leads 41 Republicans in offering Fair Access to Banking Act

Rep. Andy Barr

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) on April 20 led 41 Republicans in introducing legislation that would prohibit certain financial service providers from denying persons involved in “politically unpopular businesses” from having fair access to their financial services.

“Banks should make lending decisions relying on objective, risk-based metrics, not the standards of woke corporate cancel culture,” Rep. Barr said.  “My legislation codifies the Fair Access Rule to ensure that radical environmentalists, gun control advocates, crypto antagonists and other political activists cannot weaponize financial institutions in their fight to achieve their political agenda.”

Rep. Barr introduced the Fair Access to Banking Act, H.R. 2743, to prohibit financial service providers that do restrict access to such persons from using taxpayer-funded discount window lending programs. The bill has 41 original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Buddy Carter (R-GA), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), and Tom Emmer (R-MN). 

The purpose of the bill would be to ensure fair access to financial services and fair treatment of customers by financial service providers, including national and state banks, federal savings associations, and state and federal credit unions; and to ensure banks conduct themselves in a safe and sound manner, comply with laws and regulations, treat their customers fairly, and provide fair access to financial services, according to the text of the bill.

Additionally, the bill aims to protect against banks being able to impede otherwise lawful commerce and thereby achieving certain public policy goals; ensure that persons involved in politically unpopular businesses but that are lawful under federal law receive fair access to financial services under the law; and ensure banks operate in a safe and sound manner by making judgments and decisions about whether to provide a customer with financial services on an impartial, individualized risk-based analysis using empirical data evaluated under quantifiable standards, the text says.

H.R. 2743 is the companion bill to the same-named S. 293, sponsored on Feb. 7 by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and 36 Republican original cosponsors. “I am proud to partner with Sen. Cramer on this crucial bill to stop the politicization of access to capital that threatens jobs and compromises our nation’s values,” said Rep. Barr.

The measure is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the National Mining Association, the Blockchain Association, the National Pawnbrokers Association, and the Kentucky Coal Association.