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Chase Bank Policy Change Is ADF’s Latest Success Story in Corporate America

Our goal was to bring about meaningful change at Chase. And by God’s grace, we did.
Jay Hobbs
Written by
A man makes a payment with a credit card

“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”

That powerful turn of phrase, landing at the tail end of a sermon delivered by a British cobbler in 1792, perfectly captures the mindset of the man history would remember as the “Father of Modern Missions.”

Just a few months after crowning his sermon with that memorable passage, William Carey left for India. There, he would spend the rest of his life preaching the Gospel and translating the Bible into Hindi and several additional languages and dialects of the region.

Following Carey’s example, Alliance Defending Freedom has, from our earliest days, sought to accomplish the seemingly impossible while expecting God to deliver astonishing results. Time and again, God has done exactly that.

The latest example comes from Corporate America, where God has blessed the collaborative efforts of like-minded shareholders, elected officials, and others to bring about an important victory at the nation’s largest bank.

In 2022, JPMorgan Chase canceled the account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, which is led by former U.S. Ambassador Sam Brownback. After repeated requests to reinstate the account, Chase informed NCRF that it would only consider doing so if the nonprofit agreed to disclose confidential donor information and more. Over the course of the next year, Chase offered no fewer than five contradictory explanations for why it canceled the account.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t an outlier, but one in a growing litany of similar instances in which customers with mainstream religious and political views have been cut off from financial resources without adequate explanation. This list includes Christian charities like ADF client Indigenous Advance, which serves widows and orphans in Uganda.

Threats to liberty can come from Big Banks just as easily as from Big Government—and as we’ve seen in the recent unanimous National Rifle Association of America v. Vullo decision at the U.S. Supreme Court, sometimes they come from both.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom developed the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index. The first comprehensive benchmark designed to measure corporate respect for free speech and religious freedom, the Business Index provides a roadmap for corporations looking to de-politicize their products and services.

Take our work on politicized de-banking. On this year’s Business Index, we found that 76 percent of the 85 tech and financial services companies we scored have vague or subjective “reputational risk” or “hate speech” policies that openly threaten their customers with cancellation or punishment. These vaguely worded policies are a threat to everyone—practically guaranteeing censorship against Americans of every political and religious stripe.

Equipped with this information, ADF spearheaded a sustained campaign of public engagement with Chase leadership that included a high-profile shareholder proposal from Christian financial adviser David Bahnsen.

When Chase tried to block Bahnsen’s proposal at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, ADF and Boyden Gray PLLC filed a challenge that allowed his resolution to reach the ballot. That was just one of five similar victories ADF secured at the SEC over the past two years—itself a major step forward. Following that win, 19 state attorneys general and 14 state financial officers wrote to Chase raising concerns over de-banking, garnering a front-page story at The Wall Street Journal.

Our goal was to bring about meaningful change at Chase. And by God’s grace, we did.

By the fall of 2023, Chase’s payment processor WePay removed its problematic “social risk” policy, which had banned “hate” and “intolerance” and been applied against conservative groups in the past. Chase’s 2023 Climate Report also opens with this statement: “JPMorgan Chase & Co. provides financial services for individuals and industries across geographies — regardless of political, social, or religious viewpoints.

In 2024, Chase officials met with ADF Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco and committed to ongoing engagement on how their company can protect free speech and religious liberty.

No American should have to worry that their bank will punish or cancel them for their views. We have a long way to go in our efforts to guard against this threat, but the win at Chase is a timely reminder that while we may attempt great things for God, we can also expect great things from God.

Jay Hobbs
Jay Hobbs
Strategic Campaigns and Initiatives Director
Jay Hobbs serves as Strategic Campaigns and Initiatives Director at Alliance Defending Freedom.