SunTrust To Stop Financing Private U.S. Prison Operators

SunTrust Banks Inc. will stop funding private prison operators and immigrant retention centers, he said Monday, becoming the last lender to distance itself from a sector associated with Trump administration policies.

“This decision was made after a broad consideration of the opinions of our stakeholders on this deeply complex issue,” the Atlanta-based company said in a statement.

SunTrust is one of the several banks that have subscribed bonds or syndicated loans for at least one of the main private operators of US prisons, CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc.

Banks have been under pressure to sever ties with the private prison industry since the immigration restrictions of U.S. President Donald Trump raised concerns about the conditions of the detention center. 

Start of the year, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America declared the same statement to phase out relationships with private prison companies.

Executives from large banks have been confronted by activists at annual shareholders’ meetings and questioned by lawmakers about their role in the industry. While private prison operators had argued.

This decision was about giving in to political pressure, said Brandon Bissell, public affairs manager at CoreCivic on Monday. SunTrust executives are scheduled to testify about their proposed merger with BB & T Corp before the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, later this month.

Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the committee, has asked regulators to withhold approval of the agreement which was announced in February. Approval of agreement has been on hold as the panel will conduct a review before any further decision.

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