Fox Carolina – by Jennifer Phillips
INMAN, SC (FOX Carolina) – A Spartanburg County business owner is upset after he says SunTrust Bank closed his business accounts because he runs a pawn shop.
Even as a boy, Morris Williams often had a gun in his hands.
“I grew up hunting with my dad,” Williams said.
And now as an adult he sells them at the Inman Gun and Pawn.
“This business has been here since the early 90s,” Williams said.
Not only are there guns, but there are guitars, movies and chainsaws for sale. But he said SunTrust Bank cut him off and asked him to close two checking accounts he opened for his business.
“We have an excellent relationship. We have ample funds in the account to do anything we needed to do,” he said.
Williams said he’s a target of bank regulations influenced by the federal government because he’s a gun owner.
“We thought everything was just wonderful until we received this letter,” Williams said.
The letter states, “Under the Rules and Regulations for Deposit Accounts, and as a result of our recent decision, we must ask you to close the below listed SunTrust accounts.”
“The only thing that they will tell us is that we have been deemed a prohibited business type,” Williams said.
Some examples of what could be considered prohibited businesses are weapons, porn products, bankruptcy lawyers and psychic services businesses.
“We’ve asked our local branch manager, and we have asked corporate what basis they’ve made this decision,” he said.
So, now Williams said he’s firing back in an effort to warn other business owners.
Administrators with SunTrust Bank say they can’t comment on any specific accounts or client information because it is confidential. However, they released this statement:
“As a general rule, we do enable banking relationships with licensed firearms dealers. There are some businesses that we will no longer maintain banking relationships with, particularly those in certain businesses such as pay day lenders and pawn shops, due to the increased risk and costs associated with servicing such accounts.”
Williams said he’s already found a new bank.