Bank of America (BofA) has faced several allegations of discrimination against some of its clients in the past few months. The bank supposedly serves institutions around the world. However, several religious institutions and groups claim Bank of America “debanked” them for their pro-life values.
While these allegations remain unproven, they have gained the public’s attention. Following the claims, people have aired their views and expressed their concerns.
Timothy Two Project International
While the world was fighting COVID-19 in 2020, this charity organization also had to battle financial difficulties. According to Steve Curtis, founder and international director of Timothy Two Project International, the news of the account closure was one of the organization’s most challenging hurdles.
Aside from being sudden, it came when the organization needed money. In Curtis’ story, he revealed that the notice went out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bank Notice
In his story, Curtis revealed that the organization received the notice from Bank of America in November 2020. However, due to the heightened needs of the ministry, they switched to another bank willing to serve.
Since the notice came during the height of the pandemic, Curtis revealed they couldn’t do much to protest the closure. Consequently, he and his colleagues didn’t think much of the situation then.
The Reason for the Closure
According to Curtis’ account, the notice from Bank of America didn’t convey much. The notice said it closed the organization’s account because they were “operating a business type we have chosen not to service.”
While this reason may mean different things, it was confusing and surprising to Curtis and his colleagues. He said the ministry’s focus has stayed consistent in whatever may qualify as a “business type.”
What is Timothy Two Project International’s “Business Type?”
According to Curtis, the organization trains pastors and church leaders in some of the poorest regions all around the globe. “It’s incredibly rewarding to come alongside those without the financial and educational resources most of us in the West take for granted,” Curtis said.
Hence, the organization equips these men and women with education and skills to better serve those in their villages and surrounding areas.
Curtis Feels Bank of America is Targeting Christian Ministries
Following the closure notice he received, Curtis and his team moved on. However, three years later, he stumbles on a Daily Mail article about a BofA’s notice to another Ministry called Indigenous Advance. Hence, he followed up on the report.
After reading up on the case, Curtis discovered that, like his organization, BofA targeted Indigenous Advance for no reason. He also found that neither Indigenous Advance’s mission nor activities had shifted since they held the account.
Indigenous Advanced Ministries is a Memphis, Tennessee-based nonprofit organization. They received a notice from BofA in April 2023 that the organization was “operating in a business type we have chosen not to service at Bank of America.” In addition, the notice said their account would be closed within 30 days.
Like Curtis’s ministry, the organization makes charitable efforts. However, for orphaned children in Uganda through various partnerships.
After the first notice, Bank of America sent another letter to Indigenous Advance in May 2023 stating its “risk profile no longer aligns with the bank’s risk tolerance.”
However, the ministry, which believes in pro-life values and that marriage is between one man and one woman on its website, finds the notices vague and discriminating. Consequently, they filed a consumer complaint to determine whether their accounts were closed due to religious discrimination.
Indigenous Advance Had Three Accounts With BofA
According to reports, Indigenous Advance has maintained two bank accounts since 2015. One of these accounts pertains to the ministry itself. However, the other is for a Memphis-based church supporting the ministry’s initiatives and overseas missions.
In addition, they opened a third account this year to facilitate operations for the Indigenous Advance Customer Center (IACC). IACC sends notices “of overdue invoices on behalf of our clients,” according to its website.
Bank of America’s Statement
In an interview, Bank of America told Fox News Digital they closed the accounts due to its “internal debt collection policy” that does not support that service. However, the bank declined to provide Fox News Digital with a copy of the policy.
BofA spokesman Bill Halldin said, “Religious beliefs are not a factor in any account-closing decision.” However, Indigenous ministry founder Steve Happ insists that BofA closed their accounts because it disagreed with their religious views.
Lance Wallnau’s Case
In early 2023, Christian author, preacher, and podcaster Lance Wallnau reported that Bank of America froze his ministry’s account. In an Instagram post detailing the situation, Wallnau wrote: “You won’t believe what happened to me! My own bank account got frozen by Bank of America (BofA) for no reason other than being a conservative podcaster.”
He added, “They were investigating conservative bloggers and Christian ministries for ‘money laundering’ while ignoring the real threats in America.”
In October 2022, something similar happened to former U.S. Senator and Religious Freedom Ambassador Sam Brownback. When the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF) needed a bank account, they went to JP Morgan Chase. However, after only a few weeks, they learned the bank had closed their account.
Brownback told CBN News that he went in to make a deposit about three or four weeks after opening the account. However, the teller present said the bank had closed the account.
Is Curtis Wrong?
The semblance between Curtis’ organization and the Indigenous Ministry’s account closure might be coincidental. However, the bank’s similar punishment of Lance Wallnau and Sam Brownback set things in perspective for him.
In addition, the bank’s spokesperson couldn’t justify the account closures or point to relevant policies that the Christian organizations violated. While BofA has denied the allegations, Curtis believes Bank of America targets Christian accounts for their views.