EXCLUSIVE: Old Glory Bank Co-Founder Responds to ESG Threats

December 13th, 2023 12:08 PM

Old Glory Bank Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Eric Ohlhausen responded to a Bloomberg article on net-zero banks in an exclusive interview, saying that both U.S. and foreign banks are working to clamp down on farmers in the name of lower emissions. 

Following a disturbing statement by an executive from Dutch bank Rabobank that farmers will be charged higher interest rates if they fail to meet draconian emission standards, Ohlhausen told MRC Business in a Dec. 12 interview that U.S. banks also intend to go after farmers. The co-founder of Old Glory Bank stressed that when banks introduce “injected barriers and constraints and expenses” for an industry, consumers will pay higher prices due to the increased cost of doing business. 

Ohlhausen made the case that American banks were also pursuing the same net zero goals as foreign banks such as Rabobank in the Netherlands. “Throughout the U.S., the major banks have made pledges — B of A, Citibank — to reach in their eyes, net zero emissions by 2050 with interim targets by 2030,” said Ohlhausen, before highlighting that banks were not satisfied with merely getting their operations to net-zero but also were determined to squeeze their customers. Ohlhausen said that the banks were “looking at their customer base in totality in the operations of the bank wanting to achieve net zero,” before going on to point to areas in which these banks were “dramatically reducing financing.”

Ohlhausen didn’t stop there, pointing out that Citibank and Bank of America have also targeted the oil and gas industry through penalties “very similar to what the agriculture industry has seen with Rabobank in the Netherlands.” Specifically, Ohlhausen said that these banks are “not just imposing higher costs and fees and interest rates, but actually completely starving them of financing.” The Old Glory Bank executive called these measures “an even more drastic position to take.”

Ohlhausen and Old Glory Bank do not support efforts to pressure the agriculture industry to reduce herds and use less nitrogen, nor efforts to cripple the oil and gas industries. As recounted by Ohlhausen, Old Glory Bank exists to preserve “financial liberty” and will work with all “lawfully operating businesses.” Ohlhausen discussed a number of examples of disfavored businesses that his bank would work with, including firearm manufacturers, energy producers, farmers and religious organizations. 

“It's a fundamental right to be able to participate in the financial system,” declared Ohlhausen, while contrasting Old Glory Bank with Citibank, Bank of America, Rabobank, Stripe, PayPal and other organizations that discriminate for political reasons. Ohlhausen said, “We don't believe in the ESG, we believe in PSL, privacy, security and liberty. And our view is that that's an incredibly inclusive position for an organization to take. We stand with you no matter where you stand. And so long as you're lawfully operating, you can bank with all Glory Bank.”

Ohlhausen went on to criticize ESG proponents for “introducing costs to society” that ought to have been handled by elected representatives through legislation. Ohlhausen said that their radical positions “run counter to the ideals that have made our country so great” and that Americans suffer from this conflict and the “artificial costs” placed on American businesses. 

Ohlhausen added, “I think there certainly those developments are ones that really drove us to our founding group to really do what we're doing in the financial sector.” 

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