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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

BofA's Moynihan to keep fighting controversial 'bathroom bill'

Companies boycott North Carolina after bathroom law
Companies boycott North Carolina after bathroom law

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is stepping up rhetoric in defense of transgender rights in his bank's home state of North Carolina.

"We've been steadfast in our commitment [against] discrimination," Moynihan said during a shareholder meeting in Charlotte on Wednesday. He was responding to a question asking how he would continue to fight HB2, or the controversial bathroom bill, as it is also known. "We have been a leader in LGBT practices since the [19]90s."

While executive compensation, clawbacks and other run-of-the-mill annual meeting issues were on the ballot, it's clearly something weighing on North Carolina investors' minds. When Bank of America's Q&A session began, HB2 was the first topic one questioner, who did not disclose his last name, sought to address.

Brian Moynihan
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In North Carolina, HB2 is a statewide policy banning individuals from using restrooms other than for their biological sex, a lighting rod issue that even prompted rocker Bruce Springsteen to cancel a show in the state. Opponents of the bill call it unfair discrimination against LGBT and transgender individuals and Bank of America is far from alone in its opposition of the bill.

Other Wall Street firms are also standing beside Bank of America opposing the North Carolina bill. Executives from Wells Fargo and Citigroup joined more than 100 other executives and signed a pledge in late March urging state lawmakers to repeal the bill.

From corporate America, plenty of opponents of the legislation criticized North Carolina's legislature, and some pledged to eliminate or scale back business plans within the state's boundaries. Silicon Valley executives also chimed in to oppose HB2, including Max Levchin, CEO of lending start-up Affirm; Paul Graham, YCombinator co-founder; and Ron Conway, founder of SV Angel, to name a few.

A Bank of America customer uses a bank card
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In an election year, the bathroom bill also has drawn opponents from the entertainment industry. Besides Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Pearl Jam have dropped plans to perform in North Carolina in protest of HB2.