SunTrust will no longer provide financing to companies that manage private prisons or immigration holding facilities, it said Monday, joining a growing number of large banks that are cutting ties with the sector.
The decision was made "after extensive consideration of the views of our stakeholders on this deeply complex issue,"SunTrust told Banking Dive in an email. The Trump administration's immigration policies and its handling of detention centers have come under fire in recent months.
SunTrust is one of several banks that have financed or underwritten loans for at least one of the leading private prison operators in the U.S., CoreCivic Inc. and GEO Group Inc., according to Reuters.
The increase in activity along the southern border is bringing more attention to facilities like immigrant detention centers and the banks that finance them.
"We have been monitoring and reviewing the private prison and immigration holding situation on an ongoing basis, and our management team made the decision last week not to provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities," SunTrust told Banking Dive.
The bank’s announcement follows in the footsteps of other major U.S. financial institutions that have distanced themselves from the private prison sector in recent months.
In June, Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane told Bloomberg that, following a review by its environmental, social and governance committee, the bank decided to exit its relationships with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services.
"We've done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we've made," Finucane told Bloomberg.
JPMorgan Chase also announced in March that it would no longer finance GEO Group and CoreCivic.
According to Forbes, JPMorgan has drawn fire from activists and concerned shareholders over the issue for years.
Wells Fargo has also addressed its connection to the private prison industry, though it has not cut off business with the companies entirely.
Wells Fargo said in its business standards report in January it is reducing its exposure to the sector in accordance with its "environmental and social risk management" practices.
News of SunTrust's decision to part with the private prison sector comes ahead of its scheduled hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on July 24, where executives will share testimony about the bank's proposed acquisition by BB&T.
The $66 billion deal, which was announced in February and still subject to regulatory approval, would create a combined holding company named Truist Financial Corp. and would be headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.