Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo had had a long relationship with the firearms manufacturer Strum, Ruger & Co providing them a $40 million line of credit for their business operations. This had been part of financing Wells Fargo had provided for gun manufacturers since 2012. In 2020 though, likely reading political winds in the financial community Wells Fargo started dialing back its support for the firearms industry and its supporters.

In 2020 Wells Fargo began rolling back its support for the National Rifle Association.[1]

“Wells Fargo & Co’s relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA) is ‘declining,’ Chief Executive Charles Scharf told investors …. ‘I don’t think we participate any longer in the organization’s line of credit and mortgage loan commitments,’ Scharf said at Wells Fargo’s annual shareholder meeting, adding that the bank’s exposure to the firearms lobbying group was minimal. Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, has been quietly winding down its relationship with the NRA for nearly two years, a bank spokesman said. But Tuesday’s comments marked a change in tone at the San Francisco-based lender, which has been known as one of the largest financiers of the firearms sector, even as other large bank rivals backed away.”

In addition to unravelling their relationship with the largest organization representing gun owners, the bank started to back away from the retail firearms sector.[2]

“Wells Fargo abruptly ended its business with a well-known gun dealer in a move emblematic of the increasing hostility big banks are showing towards the firearms industry. With little explanation, the bank closed the business and personal accounts of Brandon Wexler just before Christmas. After 25 years with a personal account and 14 years with a business account, Wexler was given about a month to find a new bank. As owner of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Florida, Wexler has been cited in countless major media reports for years, but Wells Fargo said his business had suddenly become too risky.

Another letter sent the following day informing Wexler that Wells Fargo was canceling his business line of credit said, ‘the reason(s) for this action is: Banking guidelines excludes lending to certain types of businesses.’ But the letters offered no further details, and Wexler said none of the officials at his local branch offered any either.”

In addition to its attacks on the retail sector of the firearms industry in 2023 it was revealed that Wells Fargo pulled back its support for firearms manufacturers.[3]

“Ruger, one of the largest firearms manufacturers in the nation, says they have experienced an increase in financial institutions refusing to do business with them, ceding to pressures to cut off the industry from basic financial services. In a letter from the company to state lawmakers, Ruger wrote that Wells Fargo informed them their credit line would not be renewed or extended due to reputational and headline risk.”

To be clear, Ruger was, and continues to be, a stellar credit risk. … In 2021, Ruger had no debt, a large cash balance, decades of successful, cash-generating operations, and was experiencing unprecedented demand. The only reason ever provided to Ruger for declining to renew our credit facility is that we lawfully manufacture modern sporting rifles.”

All told, Wells Fargo has been at the Vanguard of the fight against the second amendment, attacking firearms retailers, firearms manufacturers, and the largest association of gun owners in the country.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wells-fargo-guns/wells-fargos-relationship-with-nra-is-declining-ceo-idUSKCN22A2ZU/


[2] https://thereload.com/wells-fargo-cancels-prominent-florida-gun-dealers-accounts-wont-work-with-certain-types-of-business/


[3] https://thetexan.news/issues/second-amendment/gun-manufacturer-ruger-alleges-discrimination-from-wells-fargo-in-letter-to-texas-lawmakers/article_9b4d3056-5d7f-11ee-94ae-0bc05473f45d.html