Wells Fargo doesn't appear ready to cut off business with gun sellers

Key Points
  • Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is skeptical in an interview over whether banks should cut off business with gun retailers.
  • Multiple businesses, including Wells competitor Citigroup, have restricted their dealings with firearms-related companies.
  • Wells Fargo is the leading financier for the gun industry.
Semi-automatic AR-15's on display.
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Wells Fargo doesn't appear willing to wade as far as some of its peers into the raging gun-control debate.

CEO Tim Sloan said in an interview earlier this week that while the bank has been in contact with its clients in the firearms industry, he has doubts about whether banks should get more involved.

"I don't know if Americans, regardless of which side of the issue you might be on, on whether or not folks should own guns or which type they should purchase, do they really want their bank to be making that decision?" Sloan told the Charlotte Observer. "I don't know if banks or credit card companies or any other financial institution should be the arbiter of what an American can buy."

Multiple nationwide businesses have taken action since the February mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and faculty dead. On top of sporting goods stores changing their practices, Citigroup said it wouldn't do business with stores that sell guns to customers under 21 or provide bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

Sloan said the bank is monitoring the debate and considering steps.

"There's a lot of complicated issues that are in and around how do we make and ensure that people in this country are a lot safer," he said. "Because it's not just about our children being safe from school, they should be safe in the communities they live in."

Wells Fargo, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, is the top financier for the gun industry, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

"We're in dialogue with those customers and providing them with feedback in terms of what we are hearing not only from our own customers but other shareholders, our team and the like," Sloan said.

Read the entire report and see the interview here.