May 27, 2023 | 15:40
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander says the city is freezing new deposits at two banks because they failed to provide “anti-discrimination” policies.
Comptroller Brad Lander freezes city deposits at two major banks because they aren̵[ads1]7;t vigilant enough for him.
Lander, the city’s chief financial officer, boasted in a news release that Mayor Eric Adams and city Finance Commissioner Preston Niblack joined him as members of the city’s banking commission Thursday to take action against Capital One and KeyBank — alleging that both lenders “outright refused to submit necessary guidelines’ to weed out ‘discrimination’.
After its first-ever public hearing, the commission also voted to ban three other banks from accepting city money because they also failed to deliver anti-discrimination policies in writing: International Finance Bank, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo, according to Lander.
“Unfortunately, despite multiple opportunities to do so, five banks failed to comply with … the Commission’s designation process – leaving us to conclude that they are not taking meaningful action to combat discrimination in their operations and are not responsible stewards of public dollars,” Lander said.
However, the Ministry of Finance issued on Friday a own statement on behalf of the Adams administrationwith the aim of clearing up some confusion surrounding Lander’s remarks.
The agency said Capital One and KeyBank were “conditionally” designated as custodians because they did not submit a “full application,” but after a year they can reapply for full designation to begin accepting city deposits again. It also said both lenders delivered “very strong financial reports.”
“Despite reports suggesting otherwise, the Banking Commission’s vote will have no impact on banking services with the City and will not adversely affect any deposits currently held at the City’s designated banks,” the agency added.
Capital One and KeyBank had $7.2 million and $10 million in city deposits, respectively, at the end of April.
In February, the commission announced, through Lander’s office, that banks doing city business must show evidence that they are trying to stop discrimination in lending, customer service and hiring.
Lander did not single out any of the flagged banks for specific wrongdoing.
Instead, he vaguely noted that the commission heard testimony from Muslims and other New Yorkers who alleged they experienced discriminatory practices while opening and closing accounts.
The commission fully certified 26 other banks to receive city deposits.
The votes were the first cast by the commission since far-left Lander, a self-described socialist, and Adams, a centrist Democrat, joined after taking office in 2022.
Capital One said in a statement: “It prohibits discrimination and harassment against any applicant, intern, employee, supplier, contractor, customer or client on the basis of protected characteristics.”
KeyBank said in a statement that it “does not discriminate in any of its operations.”
“We believe this is a misunderstanding and we look forward to clarifying this issue with the Banking Commission,” the lender added.