After Massive Push From Advocacy Groups, 8 Banks Are Pulling Back From Private Prison Financing

Aug 2, 2019
4:49 PM

On Friday afternoon, Latino Rebels received the following media release:

The Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee released the following statement in response to U.S. Bancorp and Barclays joining this list:

“US Bancorp and Barclays’ decisions to not refinance existing commitments with the private prison industry is another tremendous win in an effort by more than 100 organizations in the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee to cut off the financing of an industry profiting from the pain and suffering of families.

Due to recent bank decisions to end financing of private prisons, it is estimated that even before recent announcements from US Bancorp and Barclays, private prison corporations like CoreCivic and GEO Group stood to lose 72 percent of the total current financing available, an estimated $1.93 billion. The power of our grassroots movement is impossible to ignore, as major banks finally begin to understand that we will not stand idly by as they use our deposits to finance the incarceration of families.

After massive public outcry and a loss of future bank financing, Fitch recently downgraded CoreCivic’s crediting rating, citing uncertainty over the possibility that additional banks could sever ties with the sector. Sell side analysts have also stopped covering GEO Group and CoreCivic as Wall Street has backed away from private prisons, putting the companies in a very small group of big companies with no coverage from Wall Street analysts that sell research to investors.

Banks who have yet to publicly commit that they will not finance the private prison industry, including PNC, Citizens Bank, Regions, First Tennessee Bank, Synovus Bank and Pinnacle Bank, must heed the will of consumers and make clear statements that they will refrain from financing this morally bankrupt industry. We will not rest until they do.”

  • JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas and FifthThird Bank have already made firm commitments to ending financing private prisons.
  • US Bancorp said this week it has been reducing its exposure to the sector due to risk characteristics and that it plans to exit the relationships once its contractual obligations expire.
  • Barclays bank has also said it will not refinance existing contracts and currently have no plans to enter any new financing arrangements with these companies. Activists look forward to an even stronger statement from Barclays that more fully matches the commitment of leading banks that they will not finance private prisons moving forward.


The private prison industry has documented histories of human rights abuses and detains over 70 percent of immigrants in ICE custody and is profiting from mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigration. CoreCivic and GEO Group — the country’s two largest private prison companies — depend on debt financing from banks to conduct their day-to-day business operations, finance new facilities, and acquire smaller companies.

The Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee, made up of more than 100 organizations, calls on banks to immediately stop their financial support for private prisons and private immigrant detention centers.. The committee has signed petitions by the hundreds of thousands, delivered messages to local banks, and taken direct action outside corporate headquarters and bank branches in cities across the country. Partnering organizations include:

Action NC
Candide Group / Real Money Moves
Center for Popular Democracy
Daily Kos
Families Belong Together
Global Exchange
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
In the Public Interest
La Colectiva de Mujeres
Make the Road New York
Make the Road New Jersey
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
MomsRising / MamásConPoder
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Rainforest Action Network