Saturday - August 02, 2014
Researchers Examine Bank Donations
Written by Bruce Ferrell   
Monday, 14 January 2013 03:18

(CHARLOTTE) - Charlotte based Bank of America is one of the institutions being questioned by a report examining the charitable contributions of the country's four largest banks. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has examined the contributions of four of the largest banks over five years. Report author Sean Dobson says the banks include making low-interest loans to for-profit companies, and employees' volunteer hours, when tallying their charitable giving - and overall, they spend a fraction of one percent of total revenue on philanthropy.

"They brag a lot about their charitable donations, and they brag loudest and most often whenever they're in Washington, D.C., lobbying lawmakers to try to water down financial reforms."

The institutions in the report are Charlotte based Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo acquired the other major bank which was headquartered in Charlotte, Wachovia during the financial crisis.  Dobson says his group doesn't want Congress to be, in his words, "hoodwinked" by the banks' claims of generosity as lawmakers work on more stringent banking regulations.

Also in the report is an evaluation of how the banks fared in meeting the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy's minimum benchmarks for responsible giving. For instance, using at least half of their charitable dollars to benefit what he says are vulnerable populations instead of, say, Ivy League schools, or giving nonprofits more flexible, multi-year grants instead of one-time amounts. Dobson says none of the four banks met those standards.

"In fact, these four megabanks, their philanthropy compared to other big financial institutions, is actually mediocre in terms of its quantity and its quality," said Dobson.

The Bank of America website reports a $2 billion, ten year, philanthropic goal and mentions that employees contributed $25 million in charitable contributions in the year 2011.

(With Contributions from Stephanie Carson, North Carolina News Service)

 
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