Bank of America is reportedly asking its senior staff not to use the word “Brexit” when talking to clients, in an attempt to avoid getting involved in the fierce debate surrounding the UK’s European Union membership referendum in June.
According to the Financial Times, the bank has asked staff not to say “Brexit” and “not to provide opinions, not to influence voters, not to assume a particular result and not to engage in campaigning” before the UK goes to the polls on June 23rd.
The move isn’t an “attempt to muzzle or control staff” according to one insider quoted by the FT, but is instead so that the bank stays out of the limelight, and doesn’t contravene UK electoral law. Another source said that the bank is avoiding the word Brexit as it fears that it may imply a bias against Britain leaving the EU.
Along with the ban on Brexit, the FT reports that the bank has also scrapped plans to give money to anti-Brexit campaigners. BOA had planned to give around £100,000 to the remain campaign, but will no longer do so.
In a note from the bank, released in late 2015, BOA said that there would be “serious economic fall-out for the UK in the short- and long-term” if Britain chooses to leave the EU.
The debate about whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU is getting increasingly fierce as the referendum gets closer. Remain campaigners say that leaving the EU would be disastrous to Britain, while those in favour of leaving argue that British sovereignty is being eroded by the EU, and that leaving would restore that sovereignty.
Business Insider has reached out to Bank of America, and will update this post when we hear back.