June 26, 2019 / 8:04 PM / 3 months ago

Bank of America to stop financing operators of private prisons, detention centers

June 26 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp said on Wednesday it will no longer finance operators of private prisons and detention centers, joining peers in distancing itself from a sector that has triggered protests over the Trump administration's immigration policies.

The bank gave no further comment. JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co. made similar commitments to stop financing private prison companies earlier this year.

Activism against the financing of private prisons has increased amid tightening immigration policies under U.S. President Donald Trump and concerns about detention conditions. Private detention centers account for about two-thirds of people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, S&P Global Ratings estimated last year.

Chief Executive Brian Moynihan was confronted by activists in April at the company's annual shareholder meeting who asked why the nation's second-largest bank by assets continued to fund private prison companies, even as other banks backed away.

The Charlotte-based bank is one of several banks that have underwritten bonds or syndicated loans for CoreCivic Inc and GEO Group Inc, the two major private prison operators in the United States. In 2018, banks, including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co, raised roughly $1.8 billion in debt over three deals for CoreCivic and GEO Group, according to Refinitiv data.

GEO said on Wednesday that Bank of America's decision will not have an impact on its credit facility, which was recently extended through May 2024.

The decision was earlier reported by Bloomberg. (Reporting by Imani Moise)

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