Florida CFO

Florida CFO Patronis Takes On ‘Woke’ Banking

Progressives are demonstrating that they’ve mastered the art of getting around the Constitution by getting their way in corporate boardrooms.

Big Tech, Hollywood, too-big-to-fail banks, publishing houses, online retailers, and more are imposing left-wing social justice mantras Congress could never ram through with law, aimed at stifling or marginalizing conservatives.

Some politicians on the right see the way to counteract this implied or often overt pressure with measures to protect speech, religion, guns, and so on.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis waded into the fray on Monday.

Patronis, a Republican and a former state representative, issued a letter to Commissioner Russell Weigel, head of Florida’s financial regulation office, to seek input on whether banks chartered to do business in the Sunshine State can be slapped for practicing “political discrimination.”

Patronis opened his letter by expressing concern about “troubling reports that banks are opting to withhold financing and services from businesses deemed unacceptable by the growing ‘cancel culture’ movement.”

He noted that in recent months, big banks “have refused to extend financing and other services to entities such as firearm manufacturers, energy companies and others deemed ‘too conservative’ or otherwise not aligned with the ‘woke left’ vision of society.”

“In short,” Patronis wrote, “’cancel culture’ has reached our financial markets and the result — arbitrary selection of winners and losers — is bad news for our capitalist system.” 

“Denying financing to legally operating businesses like mine operators and federal detention providers is not a legitimate way to affect policy change in America,” the CFO argued.

“Perhaps more alarming than the inability of certain industries to get financing are the unsettling reports that ‘cancel culture’ has resulted in some businesses being denied access to even basic account services,” Patronis added

“An American business that is unbanked is not a business at all. Ultimately, the inability for certain industries to secure banking services will cost Americans jobs.”

Patronis noted that federal lawmakers seek to curb the left’s excesses on the banking industry. Yet, he wrote, he and other state officials must look after Floridians first, ensuring that “our state financial institutions operate fairly.”

“Accordingly, I strongly encourage the Office of Financial Regulation to analyze whether a Florida-chartered bank that exhibits political discrimination toward a specific industry group is engaged in an ‘unsound banking practice’ that merits issuance of a cease and desist order” under Florida law.

“Politically discriminatory banking practices are harmful to the economy of our state and nation. The banking industry has a shameful track record of denying financing to disfavored groups and we cannot allow ‘cancel culture’ to run roughshod over American enterprise,” Patronis concluded.

“I look forward to working with the Office of Financial Regulation to assess whether state-chartered banks in Florida are engaging in politically discriminatory banking activities.”

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