JPMorgan Chase & Co

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A US-based investment banking and financial services company. It has been one of the main financial backers of private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group. In 2019, it announced that it would stop financing these companies. As of 2023, CoreCivic's and GEO Group's credit agreements do not disclose the financial institutions involved.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is an investment banking and financial services company headquartered in New York City. In 2022, the company operated in over 60 countries and generated $128.7 billion in revenue. As of 2023, it is the fifth largest bank in the world based on total assets.

JPMorgan Chase has been identified as one of several major financiers of private prison and immigrant detention companies, having provided revolving lines of credit, term loans, and bond underwriting services to CoreCivic and GEO Group. While it announced in 2019 that it would stop financing these companies, it is unclear, as of 2023, whether it has upheld this commitment.

Past Financing of Private Prison Companies

In 2018, CoreCivic entered into an amended $1 billion credit agreement with a syndicate of banks that included JPMorgan Chase. Replacing a previous $900 million credit agreement, this credit facility was originally set to expire in April 2023. Under the agreement, JPMorgan Chase provided a $112 million revolving line of credit and a $28 million term loan.

In 2019, GEO Group entered into an amended credit agreement, set to expire in 2024. This agreement effectively replaced the company's 2014 credit facility of the same amount, consisting of a $900 million revolving line of credit and a $792 million term loan. As part of a syndicate of banks, JPMorgan Chase served as a lender under the original agreement, contributing an undisclosed amount of money to the deal.

JPMorgan Chase also served as an underwriter for the following CoreCivic and GEO Group bond offerings:

  • September 2015: CoreCivic issued $250 million of bonds, with a maturity date of 2022. As part of a syndicate of banks, JPMorgan Chase underwrote $40 million worth of these bonds.
  • September 2014: GEO Group issued $250 million of bonds, with a maturity date of 2024. As part of a syndicate of banks, JPMorgan Chase underwrote $31.3 million worth of these bonds.
  • April 2013: CoreCivic issued two sets of bonds—one set totaling $325 million, with a maturity date of 2020, and another set totaling $350 million, with a maturity date of 2023. As part of a syndicate of banks, JPMorgan Chase underwrote both sets of bonds; however, SEC filings do not disclose the proportion of bonds underwritten by the bank.

Discerning the Company's Role in Current Credit Agreements

As of September 2023, JPMorgan Chase might still be involved in the following bond agreements—arranged prior to the bank's divestment announcement—with CoreCivic and GEO Group:

In August 2022, GEO Group completed an offer to exchange/purchase certain outstanding notes, revolving credit loans, and term loans from certain lenders. As part of this agreement, GEO Group exchanged its outstanding bonds due 2023, 2024, and 2026 for newly issued bonds due 2028. SEC filings do not disclose whether JPMorgan Chase is still involved in any of these agreements.

In May 2022, CoreCivic entered into an amended credit agreement, effectively replacing its $1 billion credit facility with a $350 million agreement. Consisting of a $250 million revolving line of credit and a $100 million term loan, this agreement extends the previous credit facility's April 2023 maturity date to May 2026. SEC filings do not disclose whether JPMorgan Chase is still involved in this agreement.

Past Involvement in Banking and Financial Services in Prisons

In addition to financing private prison companies, JPMorgan Chase previously provided banking and financial services within prisons. The bank provided prisons with 'release cards': prepaid debit cards that individuals released from prison use to access remaining funds sent by loved ones or earned through prison labor. Unlike consumer debit cards, these cards subject cardholders to "exorbitant" transaction and maintenance fees and are "completely unregulated." In 2017, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $446,822 to thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals as part of a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company charged individuals excessive fees and surcharges for using their Chase release cards. JPMorgan Chase has since reportedly ended its prison release card operations.

Involvement in Cop City

JPMorgan Chase has ties to the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), the nonprofit arm of the Atlanta Police Department that, with the City of Atlanta, is constructing a militarized police training compound—'Cop City'—on protected forest land. As of August 2023, JPMorgan Chase's Managing Director and Head of Regional Investment Banking in Atlanta, John Richert, serves on the APF's Board of Trustees.

Other Controversies

JPMorgan Chase has also financed the fossil fuel industry. In May 2018, a coalition of environmental and human rights organizations called for a protest at the company's annual shareholder meeting for its role in climate destruction. That month, 14 protesters were arrested for blocking downtown Seattle streets as part of a nationwide protest against JPMorgan Chase for its role in funding tar sands—some of the most climate-destroying fossil fuels. In March 2017, the Oakland City Council voted to terminate its banking services contract with JPMorgan Chase due to the company's investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline and private prisons. 

Economic Activism Highlights
  • On May 8, 2019 GEO Group cited in their first-quarter securities filing that growing public pressure to divest from the private prison industry and institutional resistance from banks"could have a material adverse effect on our business." The announcement comes recently after JP Morgan and Wells Fargo announced a moratorium on new financing for private detention facilities.
  • 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.
Unless specified otherwise, the information in this page is valid as of
11 September 2023