Citigroup Inc. has prohibited new retail sector partners and clients of the bank from selling firearms or offering high-capacity magazines. The policy further goes to say that its business associates should not sell guns to persons below the age of 21 or those that have failed a background check.
According to a Thursday memo, the companies that will be affected by the restrictions are those that use the bank for lending or for issuing store credit-cards and other services. The bank also banned the sale of bump stocks. The bank warned that it would part ways with any business associate that chooses to disregard its newest policy. The lender does not do business with many gun makers, and intends to set up a meeting with those companies to make sure they adhere to its demands.
The Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup, Mike Corbat told his staff in a memo that the restrictions were designed to help keep guns out of the harmful individuals while respecting the responsible gun owners’ rights. Corbat added that it was quite clear to him that a majority of people believe that areas of practical changes and agreement could be made in order to find a common ground on gun debate.
Citigroup’s decision is likely to have been influenced by last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed by 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob. The shooting has since become a turning point for gun businesses and control movements.
However, the bank’s executive vice president Ed Skyler said that the decision was not brought about by calls to “get rid of the firearms worlds.” Instead, he said, the lender was responding to the fact that in spite of the grief that often follows mass shootings, nothing significant is done to deter guns from ending up with the wrong people.
The bank, which is the world’s largest credit card issuer, clarified that the policy would not prevent consumers of its cards from shopping at their preferred merchants. Skyler, in a blog post said that Citigroup was not in a position to implement a more targeted method that would target retailer’ points of sale due to its existing capabilities.
The new policy comes after similar announcements in February by American retail stores. Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s Sporting Goods, for instance, all made changes to their gun sales policies. However, Citi becomes the first major financial institution to alter its firearms policy. Citigroup is the first major banking institution to set restrictions on the firearms industry.