Investors see progress as standards body approves merchant code for gun sales

Shareholders pushing for credit card companies to help track gun and ammunition purchases scored a victory on Friday with the International Organization for Standardization’s approval of a new merchant category code .

Officials of California’s $311.7 billion state teachers’ retirement system, West Sacramento and New York City’s $239.5 billion retirement systems have pushed card companies to credit to support approval of Amalgamated Bank’s application for the new merchant code, arguing that it would help track suspicious activity, including mass shootings and terrorist attacks.

“Stopping the scourge of gun violence will take action from everyone, and I’m glad ISO voted to advance a key step to prevent the next tragedy,” said Brad Lander, Comptroller of the city and a trustee of the five new City of York pension funds, in a statement released with Amalgamated Bank. “American Express, Mastercard, Visa and other credit card companies are now responsible for implementing the new Merchant Category Code, so financial institutions can do their part to report suspicious activity and save lives. . I am grateful to Amalgamated Bank and others who have advocated for years to make this a reality.”

In letters sent to executives of American Express Co., Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. last month, Aeisha Mastagni, portfolio manager for sustainable investing and stewardship strategies at CalSTRS, and Mr. Lander said that credit card companies have “a responsibility to prohibit the use of its network for illegal activities,” and that failure to do so “may result in regulatory, reputational, and litigation risks that can harm shareholder value long-term “.

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