West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office places major financial companies on restricted list – The Daily Times

Written by Amanda

CHARLESTON – Six banks and financial institutions have less than 30 days to show they are not engaged in boycotts of coal and natural gas or West Virginia will no longer deposit taxpayer dollars with them.

The State Treasurer’s Office announced Monday that six companies were sent notices informing them that they will be placed on the state’s Restricted Financial Institution List until they end fossil fuel boycotts.

Senate Bill 262, passed during the 2022 legislative session, authorizes the State Treasurer’s Office to restrict banking contracts with any bank or investment group that refuses to deal with coal, oil, and natural gas companies or terminates contracts with existing fossil fuel companies as a way to punish companies who don’t fall in line with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.

“Earlier this year our Office proposed, and the Legislature passed, Senate Bill 262 to push back against unfair discrimination against our coal, oil and natural gas industries by the financial sector as part of the so-called … ‘ESG’ investing movement,” said State Treasurer Riley Moore in a statement. “We’ve now demonstrated we are serious about enforcing this law.”

The six companies given notice were unidentified in the State Treasurer Office’s press release, but the office turned over the notices in a Freedom of Information Act request Monday afternoon. The companies are BlackRock Inc., the Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase and Co., Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo and Company.

The new law requires the State Treasurer’s Office to maintain a public list of restricted financial institutions. Any bank on the restricted list would be unable to enter into new financial contracts with the state or remain in current contracts until they are able to show they no longer engage in boycotts of energy companies.

The companies have 30 days from the time they receive the notice to respond and show documentation that they are not in any boycotts of energy companies. If they don’t respond or are unable to show why they should not be placed on the restricted list, they will be placed on the list 45 days from June 10 when the notices were issued.

According to the release, the State Treasurer’s Office reviewed publicly available statements of financial institutions the state could do business with at some point before sending the notices. Also, financial institutions are required to certify that they won’t engage in fossil fuel boycotts to be eligible to bid for state banking contracts.

The state already had a trial run prior to the passage of SB 262 with BlackRock. Earlier this year, the Treasurer’s Office informed BlackRock the state would no longer do business with the company, citing reports that BlackRock was urging companies it invested in to commit to “net zero” energy policies, reducing their greenhouse gas footprint and relying more on green sources of energy. The State Treasurer’s Office already has authority to back out of banking contracts with a 30-day notice.

The State Treasurer’s Office has more than $7 billion in management between nearly 30 depositors. Financial reports filed by the State Treasurer’s Office as of the end of April showed investments with U.S. Bancorp, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan.

Representatives for Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp declined to comment. Requests for comment from the other companies was not returned.

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Source: weirtondailytimes.com

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai