In state legislatures throughout the country, lawmakers are introducing bills to protect the rights of their constituents concerning freedom of speech and freedom of association. Bank lobbyists are aggressively opposing these consumer protection bills, which raises the question: why? The banks say they do not use ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) metrics, so why oppose these consumer protection bills that merely erect some guardrails to ensure that the rights, freedoms, and choices of citizens are protected?
The banks and others opposing legislation to protect consumers and small businesses from ESG discrimination say the legislation interferes with the free market, that the government is meddling with how a private business operates. However, does a free market in financial services exist today? The aggressiveness of banks' opposition to these ESG bills hints that there may be more to the story.