Wells Fargo Dropped by Teachers Union Over Ties to Gun Industry

(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co.’s financial ties to gunmakers and the National Rifle Association have prompted the American Federation of Teachers to remove the bank from its list of recommended mortgage lenders.

The 1.7-million-member national union said the move came after its attempts to meet with bank executives to discuss the matter went unanswered, according to a letter released Thursday. The AFT had contacted the bank earlier, urging the firm to stop doing business with the NRA and makers of guns and ammunition.

“We can only assume that, in light of your silence and the NRA attacks, you have decided that the NRA business is more valuable to you than students and their educators are,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in the letter to Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan.

The nation’s third-largest lender by assets said Thursday that Americans don’t want banks to determine what products are available for sale, and safety issues should be decided by lawmakers. Other firms including Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. have cut some gun-related ties after a spate of mass shootings in the U.S.

“Wells Fargo takes great pride in supporting teachers and their families, and in 2017 alone, we provided nearly $70 million in education-related contributions across the nation,” Kurt Schroeder, a bank spokesman, said in an email. “We remain deeply committed to the financial success of teachers.”

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