Bank of America to stop financing private prisons, detention centers

Bank of America announced it will no longer do business with the operators of private prisons and detention centers.

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“We have decided to exit the relationships we have with companies providing prisoner and immigrant detention services for federal and state governments, as expeditiously as possible,” a Bank of America spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.

The second-largest bank in the U.S. said it has been “discussing the issue for some time.” The decision came after the bank reviewed its policy through its environmental, social and governance (ESG) committee, Bloomberg reported. The company also met with its internal Hispanic and black leaders.

“The private sector is attempting to respond to public policy and government needs and demands in the absence of long standing and widely recognized reforms needed in criminal justice and immigration policies,” a Bank of America spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.

“Lacking further legal and policy clarity, and in recognition of the concerns of our employees and stakeholders in the communities we serve, it is our intention to exit these relationships,” the statement concluded.

Reuters reported the bank has underwritten bonds or granted syndicated loans to CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc, two private prison operators. The Miami Herald reported Bank of America was a financier of Caliburn – the company that runs the Homestead center “under a U.S. contract.”

Bank of America joins JPMorgan Chase which announced in March that it would stop funding private prison operators following criticism related to President Trump’s immigration policies.

“JPMorgan Chase has a robust and well established process to evaluate the sectors that we serve.  As part of this process, we will no longer bank the private prison industry,” a spokesperson for the bank said in an emailed statement to FOX Business.

The announcement prompted a response from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who applauded the decision.

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“Last week, we call the concentration camps at the border for what they are. In the week since: Acting director of Customs & Border Patrol resigned. Bank of America announced they will stop financing for-profit immigrant detention & private prisons. Words matter,” the congresswoman tweeted.

Private prisons recently made headlines after Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for them to be banned.

Fox Business' Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.