Top BoA exec: NC’s Amendment One “a direct challenge to our ability to compete nationally for jobs and economic growth”
March 27, 2012
Anyone who knows anything about North Carolina knows Bank of America is a huge presence there. The 60-story Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte is their global headquarters. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers play at Bank of America Stadium. Thousands and thousands of North Carolinians work at Bank of America, more than in any other state in the country, such that Charlotte is actually the nation’s largest banking center, after NYC.
So when North Carolina’s top Bank of America executive and former chair of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce comes out against Amendment One, it’s a BFD. Here’s Cathy Bessant:
Charlotte Business Journal further explains:
Cathy Bessant says a North Carolina constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the Tar Heel State would be harmful to business and economic development in the state.
Bessant, a well-known corporate figure in Charlotte and a former Charlotte Chamber chair, is the global technology and operations executive for Charlotte-based Bank of America. Her division has more employees than any other and is responsible for almost all the technology and related support staff that works behind the scene for the nation’s second-largest bank.
Bessant says a ban on gay marriage would have a “disastrous effect on our ability to attract talent and retain talent.” She mentioned technology, biotech and related fields as those especially at risk.
In a YouTube video posted on the website www.protectncfamilies.org, Bessant says the amendment to ban gay marriage in North Carolina would send the message that the state has a “backward-looking economy.” While she doesn’t reference Bank of America, her title and affiliation with BofA is noted on the video. And she says the law would harm large corporations.
Amendment One “is a direct challenge to our ability to compete nationally for jobs and economic growth,” Bessant says in the two-minute recording. “Large corporations hate this kind of controversy. They deal with diverse work force populations for whom issues like this aren’t just important in terms of where it is they live, but are important indicators of the diversity and meritocracy of the companies where they want to work.”
A commenter yesterday noted one of the pro-equality messagse in North Carolina has to be how the amendment will affect “you” the voter, meaning “not gay and lesbian couples, but the overwhelmingly heterosexual electorate.” This is an important way to do it: Amendment One will put Bank of America — perhaps North Carolina’s largest employer and the most LGBT-friendly bank in the country, according to HRC’s Corporate Equality Index– at a competitive disadvantage and hurt jobs. Maybe even yours.