The pawnshop owner of a Brooksville, Florida, small business was beyond shocked to learn that his bank closed his account. Steve Champion, owner of American Gun & Pawn, believes SunTrust Bank purposefully singled him out for selling gun. SunTrust Bank claimed their professional relationship “no longer meets the bank’s corporate business objections.” Champion was given a clear deadline to withdrawal his money and the letter specifically stated that SunTrust’s decision was final and non-reversible.
Originally, Champion was concerned the drastic letter was a hoax and upon contacting customer service was told that the “gun letters,” were being mailed out to gun shops across the country.
Licensed through the federal government and a legitimate small business, Champion being singled out is completely unacceptable. Champion is urging people not to conduct business with SunTrust Bank.
The spokesperson for SunTrust Bank, Michael McCoy, says the company firmly stands behind their decision, but claims it was because guns are sold from the pawnshop. They said in August that they made the decision to stop providing banking services to certain businesses, which just happened to include pawnshops.
The bank released a statement, which explains their new policy.
“SunTrust is pro-small business, and we are proud to serve more than 400,000 small business clients. SunTrust fully supports all of the rights that Americans are granted under the Constitution, and we continue to maintain banking relationships with licensed firearms dealers. It is consistent with long-standing industry practice to review relationships to ensure they satisfy a range of business and risk considerations. We have decided to discontinue banking relationships with three types of businesses – specifically payday lenders, pawn shops [sicc] and dedicated check-cashers – due to compliance requirements. We remain committed to serving the needs of our communities while meeting the standards of our industry.”
Champion has no debt, near perfect credit and claims the bank is discriminating.
In another story, Peggy Craig, owner of Michael’s Pawn and Gun in Fruitland Park, Florida, experienced a similar story.
Unfortunately, SunTrust Bank does not seem to care that their in-house decisions are affecting the livelihood of many small businesses that are operating within the bounds of the law and within the Second Amendment.
According to the law, the Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act (FIND) prohibits companies from refusing service “solely because a person ... is engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms or ammunition products.”