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W.Va. State Treasurer adds four financial institutions to restricted list due to fossil fuel boycotts

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced he has added four financial institutions to the state’s Restricted Financial Institution List after determining these institutions are engaged in boycotts of fossil fuel companies as defined under state law.

Treasurer Moore added the following firms to the list effective April 8, 2024: Citigroup Inc.; TD Bank, N.A.; The Northern Trust Company and HSBC Holdings, PLC. They join BlackRock Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co., which were initially added when the list was first published in July 2022. All institutions on the list will now be ineligible to provide banking services to the State.

The determination was based on a review of each institution’s own environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and other publicly available statements.

“We cannot allow institutions that seek to destroy our state’s critical energy industries and the economic activity they generate to also profit from handling the very taxpayer dollars they seek to diminish,” Treasurer Moore said. “My action today represents our continued commitment to protect state funds from furthering these politically motivated, subjective ESG policies that attempt to cut off financing for our coal, oil and natural gas industries and harm our state.”

The Restricted Financial Institution List law, which Treasurer Moore proposed to the Legislature and was passed in 2022, authorizes the State Treasurer to publish a list of financial institutions that have publicly stated they will refuse, terminate or limit doing business with coal, oil or natural gas companies without a reasonable business purpose.

Under the law, the Treasurer may exclude banks on the list from eligibility for contracts for state banking services, ensuring that financial institutions are not holding the same state revenue and taxpayer dollars their ESG policies are attempting to diminish.

Notices of potential inclusion on the list were delivered to an initial group of six financial institutions in late February. The notified financial institutions then had 30 days to provide additional information to demonstrate to the Treasurer that they are not engaged in a boycott of fossil fuel companies.

Two companies that were initially notified – BMO Bank and Fifth Third Bancorp – were not added to the list after they successfully demonstrated to Treasurer Moore they are not engaged in a boycott of coal, oil or natural gas companies.

“After receiving our initial notice, both Fifth Third Bancorp and BMO Bank worked with my Office to clarify their policies and ensure they are not harming our fossil fuel industries,” Treasurer Moore said. “Specifically, BMO Bank removed an offending policy published on their website after receiving our letter and subsequently demonstrated other existing policies had been revoked. I applaud both of these institutions for working with us in a cooperative way to ensure the free market remains free and our state’s critical industries are treated fairly.”

More information on the Restricted Financial Institution List is available at www.wvtreasury.com/Restricted-Financial-Institutions.

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