Bank of America turns down offer to relocate to Conn.

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Bank of America has turned down Connecticut legislators’ offer for it to relocate its headquarters from Charlotte, N.C., to the Nutmeg State.

State Rep. Matthew Lesser and Sen. Gary Winfield, the Democratic co-chairmen of the legislature’s banking committee, lost little time in trying to persuade Bank of America to relocate here in the wake of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s signing into law legislation that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules. The legislation came in response to a Charlotte ruling allowing transgender people to use restrooms aligned with their gender identity.

The new law has inflamed members of the LGBT community as well as a number of corporations and legislators around the country. In the wake of the governor’s move, PayPal announced last week that it would not go forward with plans to build a global operations center that would have added some 400 jobs to the Charlotte area.

In an April 5 letter signed by over 40 lawmakers from both parties, Lesser and Winfield wrote, “Not only is Connecticut serious about our commitment to the financial sector, but we are also serious about our commitment to a just and tolerant society.”

Bank of America stated it has no plans to move to Connecticut. Last week, its CEO Brian Moynihan added his signature to a letter signed by some 80 other corporate leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking McCrory and the general assembly to repeal the law.

The Lesser and Winfield move came in the wake of a letter written by Gov. Dannel Malloy in the immediate wake of McCrory’s action, urging North Carolina businesses to move to Connecticut as the Nutmeg State is “welcoming and inclusive.”

Malloy announced on March 31 that he was banning state-funded travel to North Carolina, in a move recalling his travel ban to Indiana in March 2015. That ban came after passage of an Indiana law that allows businesses to turn away customers on religious grounds, which could be interpreted as allowing them to refuse service to LGBT customers.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed into law a bill that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned nonessential state-funded travel to both Mississippi and North Carolina.

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