JPMorgan: Predecessors Linked To Slavery

AP, Jan. 21

NEW YORK—JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the first company to acknowledge that two of its predecessor banks had specific links to the slave trade. The filing was meant to comply with a Chicago ordinance requiring such disclosures.

The bank, the nation’s second largest, said in a statement Thursday that the two Louisiana banks had received thousands of slaves as collateral before the Civil War.

The New York-based bank also apologized for contributing to “a brutal and unjust institution” and said it was setting up a scholarship fund in Louisiana as a way to make amends.

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The bank said that historical researchers had found that two now-defunct predecessor banks—Citizens Bank and Canal Bank, both based in Louisiana—served as banks to plantations from the 1830s until the Civil War.

“Collateral” for mortgages and other loans “included land, equipment and/or enslaved individuals,” the statement said.

The bank estimated that the two banks “accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral and that the banks came to own approximately 1,250 enslaved individuals as a result” of defaults.

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