West Virginia Clamps Down On ‘Woke’ Banks

West Virginia has escalated its campaign against the detrimental effects of environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, announcing additional sanctioning of four major banks. State Treasurer Riley Moore announced the expansion of the state’s Restricted Financial Institution List to include Citibank, TD Bank, Northern Trust and HSBC Holdings, signaling a growing intolerance for financial entities boycotting fossil fuel industries.

West Virginia has already issued such restrictions against other financial giants because of their ESG policies, including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. This first group of restricted bands have already lost an estimated $18 billion in annual transactions.

Moore’s strategy has been clear: to draw a line in the sand for financial institutions, forcing them to choose between supporting fossil fuel industries or forfeiting the opportunity to do business with the state. His office’s proactive approach has not only led to the broadening of the Restricted Financial Institution List. Still, it has also sparked a dialogue on the validity and impact of ESG practices. Some major institutions and smaller banks have adjusted their approach in West Virginia, while those who have been listed have chosen to have their shareholders take a financial hit as the price of their political position.

The action against these banks has been part of a more significant, nationwide backlash against ESG. Other states, led by Texas and Mississippi, are taking steps to protect their citizens from censorship and discrimination based on economic choices. ESG distorts financial markets and undermines American society’s cultural and economic fabric, favoring speculative environmental goals over real-world economic stability.

Despite the banks’ assertions of ongoing investment in the energy sector, West Virginia’s message remains uncompromising. Derek Kreifels of the State Financial Officers Foundation has properly framed the fight against ESG as a defense of free market principles and state sovereignty as the organization support’s West Virginia’s stand.

The Mountain State’s restrictions on ESG financial practices positions the state as a bellwether for the movement for prosperity under free market capitalism unchained from woke ideology.