Sun Trust Bank Reverses After Severing Ties With Benham Brothers Over Pro-Life Views

National   Steven Ertelt   May 16, 2014   |   4:00PM    Washington, DC

After getting national condemnation from pro-life advocates, Sun Trust Bank has reversed its decision to yank real estate contracts with the Benham brothers.

The pro-life brothers who were set to be the stars of the next HGTV reality television show “Flip It Forward” have had a refreshing response to the cable network cancelling the program because of their pro-life beliefs. They said they were not bothered by the show being cancelled because of their beliefs.

After that blowup received national attention, the Benham Brothers are back in the news because of discrimination over their pro-life views. Initial reports showed SunTrust Banks discriminating against the brothers, then the Daily Caller reported SunTrust reversed itself:

After an uproar from conservative customers, SunTrust Banks announced Friday afternoon that the decision to end its relationship with real estate entrepreneurs David and Jason Benham had been reversed.hgtv

Earlier Friday, The Daily Caller reported that SunTrust Banks had pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business.

The move came just a week after HGTV announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the Benhams because of their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage.

By Friday afternoon, SunTrust released a statement saying the decision had been reversed. The bank didn’t go into detail about why they originally cut ties with the Benham brothers, though SunTrust said the decision was made by a third party vendor. TheDC reported earlier Friday that the vendor had told a Benham Brothers franchisee that the bank itself made the decision.

Early Friday reports showed SunTrust Banks discriminating against the brothers.

As the Daily Caller reports:

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

“We were caught off-guard with this one,” David Benham said of SunTrust’s actions. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace.”

The Benhams, in their statement, said the news came “without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period” on Thursday. The Brothers said they have had a “mutually productive working relationship with SunTrust for many years” and hold a ”preferred broker” status with the bank.

SIGN THE PETITION TO HGTV: Stop Discriminating Against Pro-Life Christians

The brothers said they contacted SunTrust, but bank employees declined to explain the reasoning for what happened.

Reached for comment by TheDC on Friday, SunTrust corporate spokesman Mike McCoy would not say whether the Benhams’ political views impacted their decision.

“We continuously review our supplier relationships and changes to the list of companies we rely on for services is a natural part of our business, however we do not publicly comment on specific vender relationships,” McCoy told TheDC.

In an email to LifeNews, Faith Driven Consumer founder Chris Stone, who has been organizing social media support for the brothers during their controversy with HGTV, blasted the banking company for its decision.

“SunTrust Banks appears to have punished David and Jason Benham by taking action against their business purely based on their Christian beliefs. This sends a loud and clear message to people of faith in America, you’re not welcome at SunTrust, take your business somewhere else,” he said. “SunTrust’s actions have effectively put into place a belief-oriented litmus test for its business partners seeking to compete in the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas. This is discriminatory, intolerant, and in direct opposition everything that America is about.”

“Faith Driven Consumers, and all fair-minded Americans, are getting tired of this, they know it’s wrong, and they are not going to tolerate this kind of bullying. On behalf of our community of 46 million people who spend $1.75 trillion annually, we are actively seeking banks who will welcome them along with all of the other people that they serve,” he concluded.

ACTION: Contact Sun Trust:
Call 800.786.8787
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/suntrust
Twitter – http://twitter.com/SunTrust