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Amalgamated Bank: Advocates for gun violence prevention


29 December 2022

Gun crime and shooting have been a long standing social issue in America. By implementing the International Standards Organisation new merchant category code (MCC), which will create a new datapoint that financial institutions can use to enhance their detection and reporting of criminal activity, Amalgamated Bank represents the word ambitious through their active advocacy for gun violence prevention in the banking industry.

Amalgamated Bank, based in New York, has always recognised their forefront role in fighting against gun violence. To prevent tragedy from happening, banks are responsible for the first step – stop the accessibility to the financial system to get hold of guns. In the same way that they have used an algorithm to track down fraud and human trafficking, it is applicable to spot and stop patterned purchases in firearms, flag suspicious transactions and report to the local authority. 
Priscilla Sims Brown, President and CEO at Amalgamated Bank says: “We all have to do our part to stop gun violence. As a bank, it is our rights and responsibility to report the use of the financial system to fuel black market gun sales and sales associated with mass shootings.

In the past, gun-related purchases were recorded as “miscellaneous” transactions and there was no such stand-alone mercenary code for guns and ammunition stores. That makes tracking impossible to lead back to the buyers and merchants. Frustratingly, Amalgamated Bank had tried twice applying to MCC but with no success. Then September this year, because of the banks’ perseverance, they finally got approved by the International Standards Organization. Taking into account the banks’ unwavering commitment on not lending to firearms manufacturers or sellers, completely dis-associating with any businesses involved in gun sales, this application will further demonstrate their strength on being the first banking organization in the US to institute such an unflinching position. 

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