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Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have said they’ll stop financing private prisons and detention centers. Will SunTrust do the same?

Photo: Kipp Teague (Flickr)

Last March, private equity firm DC Capital Partners purchased the company that runs the only child detention center that is run as a for-profit enterprise, Florida-based Homestead.  The firm added the facility to its corporate conglomerate, Caliburn, with the intention of taking the company public with an IPO valued at $100 million. But public outrage forced DC Capital to back away from its public offering, and Caliburn remains a private, for-profit company. 

Now Caliburn is back in the news as increased scrutiny of the Homestead shelter has revealed overcrowded conditions and children being detained for weeks, and even months, with no clear end in sight – and all this in a shelter intended to house children for only a few days. After a Texas facility was closed due to dangerously unsanitary conditions, those children were moved to Homestead, exacerbating existing issues at the facility. Since the Homestead facility is designated as a temporary shelter – despite the reality on the ground – it is not held to the same government standards as permanent shelters. 

Increasing public awareness of these inhumane conditions has inspired Democratic presidential candidates to attempt to visit the facility, adding to the visibility of the shelter in media. 

Yesterday, after facing ongoing pressure from the Families Belong Together coalition, Corporate Backers of Hate, and others, Bank of America, the largest lender to Caliburn and major lender to private prison operators GEO and CoreCivic, vowed to end its financing relationship with the private prison industry. From Bloomberg:

“We have decided to exit the relationship’’ with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said Wednesday in an interview. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made.’’

Bank of America joins Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase in their commitment to cease any future financing of the industry. 

Now the pressure is mounting on SunTrust, the second largest lender to Caliburn, to join their commitment. According to SEC filings, SunTrust has committed $60 million in revolving credit and term loans to Caliburn. The bank is also a top lender to for-profit prison operators GEO and CoreCivic. 

Unlike its peers, SunTrust has made no commitment to end its financing relationship with the private prison industry. SunTrust is now the only bank that provides credit lines and term loans to both GEO and CoreCivic that has not committed to end this practice. 

Will SunTrust follow its peers and end its relationship with this immoral industry, or will it continue to seek profit from immigrant detention? 

Below is a LittleSis map of all the banks that are propping Caliburn, with links to SEC filings of their credit and loan arrangements.