By Susan M Smith

I hope you have been hearing about Stop Banking the Bomb’s (SBTB’s) efforts to get PNC to stop supporting the creation of nuclear weapons. I have. I have even attended some of the protests and talked to people about the situation. Still, I felt that I was supporting PNC since I have had checking and savings accounts there for many years. 

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, PNC has loaned about $1.2 billion to eight nuclear-arms manufacturers since 2013. The bank is using customers’ money (including my money) to fund what Dwight Eisenhower correctly called, the Military Industrial Complex. In addition, several of the companies in which PNC has invested not only manufacture nuclear weapons, but also sell them to other countries, fueling global war and destruction. General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, and Textron are just a few so-called “defense contractors” who sell these insidious weapons of war and create an unsafe world for all of us. 

SBTB has two goals. First, that PNC divest of their financial commitments to those corporations involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Second, that PNC adopt a corporate policy never to loan money to or in any way financially support corporations involved in the manufacture of or sale of nuclear weapons. 

Since I don’t want to support the creation, sale, or use of nuclear weapons, I decided to pull my money out of PNC. I decided that it would not be effective without informing William S. Demchak, PNC Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer and Michael P. Lyons, PNC Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking and Asset Management Group. 

So, I recently closed my PNC accounts and sent two letters. Yes, it was a hassle, as I had to change/stop direct deposits, direct payments, etc. It took time, but I decided that the statement was worth it. No, I didn’t really have that much money in the accounts. But I remembered one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

I can’t do this alone, but I can be a small part of the pressure on PNC to change its investment policies. I am not the first person to make this decision and I hope I won’t be the last. Will you join with Stop Banking the Bomb? Many small amounts add up to a lot of pressure. I want to live in a world of peace without nuclear weapons. Don’t you? Let’s each take our own small steps toward that goal. 

Upcoming Stop Banking the Bomb Pickets are: 

Friday, October 4, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM at PNC Headquarters, Fifth and Wood, Downtown 

Saturday, October 19, 11 AM – Noon at PNC, Fifth and Craig, Oakland 

Friday, November 1, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM at PNC Headquarters 

All are invited to participate in building the campaign through your presence at a picket, telling others about the campaign, making your support for our demands known to PNC, or like I did, to close your PNC account(s). 

Susan Smith is a Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Pittsburgh member and activist. She is a long-time educator, who is also a Merton Center member. 

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 49 No. 8. October, 2019. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

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