Barrasso Condemns Bank of the West Anti-Fossil Fuels Policies

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Barrasso calls on CEO in San Francisco to visit communities served by Bank of the West branches in Wyoming to see first-hand how vital energy investments are to customers in Wyoming and the country.

CASPER — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to Bank of the West President and Chief Executive Officer Nandita Bakhshi pushing back on the bank’s decision to no longer conduct business with companies engaged in certain types of exploration and production of coal, oil and natural gas.

Bank of the West, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, has 23 branches with dedicated employees who work hard to serve communities and families across Wyoming.

In his letter, Barrasso condemned the San Francisco headquarter’s attack on Wyoming’s communities and businesses that depend on fossil fuels for energy security, jobs and economic growth.

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“This misguided and politically expedient decision is a direct attack on hardworking families in Wyoming and across the country that depend on fossil fuels for energy security, jobs and economic growth. While it may be fashionable today in San Francisco to exclude states like Wyoming from your lending plans, it will do little to discourage us from pursuing our best future on our terms…There is no discernible reason the Bank of the West cannot strive to increase small business lending, promote environmental stewardship, and support entrepreneurs without vilifying an industry that contributes so much to communities across Wyoming and the country,” wrote Sen. Barrasso.

Full text of the letter below:


August 8, 2018

Nandita Bakhshi
President and Chief Executive Officer
Bank of the West
180 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

Dear Ms. Bakhshi:

I am writing to express my profound disappointment – and the anger of many of your own Wyoming customers – with the Bank of the West’s announcement that it will no longer conduct business with companies engaged in the exploration and production of coal, oil and natural gas. This misguided and politically expedient decision is a direct attack on hardworking families in Wyoming and across the country that depend on fossil fuels for energy security, jobs and economic growth. While it may be fashionable today in San Francisco to exclude states like Wyoming from your lending plans, it will do little to discourage us from pursuing our best future on our terms.

In Wyoming, we are blessed with vast reserves of many energy resources, including coal, oil and natural gas. These resources fuel our state’s economy, employ people in good jobs, and provide affordable energy to homes and businesses throughout the country. Fossil fuel production also provides billions of dollars in yearly tax revenues to build and maintain schools, highways, water systems and other critical infrastructure in local communities. We deliver these resources to the country and the world while protecting the natural beauty and environmental health of the state.

Simply put, fossil fuels are essential to the livelihood of people in my home state, including those served by the dedicated employees at your 23 Wyoming branches. It is a serious mistake to pick winners and losers in energy markets, especially to the detriment of your own customers.

Your plan to isolate and exclude fossil fuel producers and the families that depend on them from your bank’s future business plans is a regretful mistake. There is no discernible reason the Bank of the West cannot strive to increase small business lending, promote environmental stewardship, and support entrepreneurs without vilifying an industry that contributes so much to communities across Wyoming and the country.

I hope that you will soon take the time to visit the communities served by your bank’s branches in Wyoming so that you can see first-hand how vital fossil fuels are to your customers in Wyoming and the country.