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Indigenous Advance Ministries
USA News

Christian charity alleges Bank of America closed account over 'religious views'

by Heather Preston

A Christian non-prophet based in Memphis claims its account was shut down because the Bank of America (BofA) disagreed with its "religious views".

Indigenous Advance Ministries (IAM) – a charity supporting vulnerable children and families in Uganda - has filed a consumer complaint against the bank, claiming the closure temporarily prevented them from paying staff salaries.

The company, which holds traditional Christian views on marriage and sexuality, claims it has been banking with the BofA for eight years.

The BofA denied the 'debanking' claims to the DailyMail, saying "religious beliefs are not a factor in any account-closing decision".

IAM – previously known as World Shine USA – opened a new account with the bank in January 2023. By April, the bank informed the organisation all of its accounts would be shut down within 30 days, stating that the company was "operating in a business type we have chosen not to service at Bank of America".

Following pushback from IAM for an explanation, the bank sent a further letter stating that the company's "risk profile no longer aligned with the bank's risk tolerance".

The IAM told the Tennessee Attorney-General's office the unexpected closure of its accounts disrupted a planned mission trip to Uganda and left the company temporarily unable to pay staff salaries.

"I am concerned that Bank of America cancelled our and our partners' accounts because it disagrees with our religious views," it added.

Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing IAM in its case. It argues that the nonprofit does not advocate for any political causes and has maintained the same mission since it opened its account with Bank of America.

The complaint suggests the bank may have violated consumer protection laws against unfair and deceptive practices and its own "Code of Conduct," which specifies that it promotes "diversity and inclusion" with respect to religion.

"No American should have to worry that a financial institution will deny them service based on their religious beliefs, but Bank of America appears to have done just that with Indigenous Advance," said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco.

According to its website, part of IAM's services include "the recovery of overdue invoices on behalf of our clients". A BofA spokesperson told the Daily Mail that debt collection violates the bank's policies and that the closure of IAM was related in part to this issue.

 

 

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