The second largest banking institution in the US. Finances private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group. Charges prisoners exorbitant rates for prison banking services.
Bank of America is a multinational investment bank and financial services company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the second largest banking institution in the United States, serving 67 million customers and small business clients in all 50 states and more than 35 countries. Its revenue for 2017 was reported at $87.4 billion.
Bank of America is part of a major syndicate of banks that act as major investors and lenders for the two largest private prison and immigrant detention companies in the United States: CoreCivic and GEO Group. These private prison companies rely on banks and financing organizations to bankroll their operations and expansion. The Bank of America, along with other banks, offers CoreCivic and GEO billions in revolving credit limits, term loans, and bonds that enable them to expand their reach into carceral and correctional industries. Additionally, Bank of America is CoreCivic’s administrative agent, securing the loans and credit limit for the corporation and acting as a go-between for these companies and syndicates of banks.
Enlace, a social and economic justice organization, identifies Bank of America as one of six major lenders for CoreCivic and GEO, along with Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, and U.S. Bancorp. Bank of America is also one of 42 major investors that own over one million shares in CoreCivic and GEO, dubbed as “The Million Shares Club” and targeted by groups like Enlace. As of its 2018 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of America owns 202, 853 shares in CoreCivic and 867,973 shares in GEO.
In April 2018, Bank of America facilitated CoreCivic’s new credit agreement for $800 million in revolving credit, of which it has used 11.8%, and $200 million for a term loan. As of June 2018, CoreCivic owes $200 million and GEO owes $790 million, out of $800 million, in term loans. CoreCivic and GEO have issued $1.2 billion and $4 million bonds, respectively, as of June 2018.
The Bank issues release cards to formerly incarcerated people, which allow them access to the funds they were arrested with. These release cards are controversial for their predatory lending practices and lack of alternatives or regulation. Bank of America, among other banks, have also been scrutinized for discriminating against immigrant clients. In 2018, Bank of America allegedly froze clients out of their accounts for not reporting their citizenship status.
Bank of America also has an ongoing contract with G4S plc, the world's largest private security company, to provide security services to all of its branches, making it is one of G4S’ largest commercial customers, “serving 47 million consumers and small businesses across 4,500 retail financial centres in 35 countries around the world.” Bank of America renewed its contract with G4S in 2017 for a three-year period.
- On April 26, 2017, University of Wisconsin-Madison students passed a resolution to call for the university's divestment from private prisons and corporations that build border walls, naming Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Suntrust, US Bank Corp., and Wells Fargo.