Makers And Stars Of Porn Being Turned Away By Some Banks

Chanel Preston at work.

Chanel Preston at work.

With so many people choosing to watch porn for free online rather than pay for it, the adult industry claims to be nowhere near as lucrative as it was at the height of the VHS and DVD era. Making matters worse, some in the industry say their banks don’t want to be associated with this particular form of entertainment.

Porn star Chanel Preston — about whom we will admit to knowing absolutely nothing (because our parents are probably reading) — tells CNBC that she recently opened a business account at City National Bank in Los Angeles, the so-called “bank to the stars.” But apparently it’s not the bank to the stars of Office Perverts 5 (again, mom, we had to look that up; we swear).

Ms. Preston says that when she attempted to make a deposit into her new account, she learned it had been closed because of “compliance issues.”

She says that the manager who had helped her set up the account explained that the bank was worried about the live cam shows on her website and had decided to close the business account.

The actress says she’s previously been turned down for loans because of her profession, which may be controversial, but is certainly legal.

“[The loan officer] asked me ‘are you affiliated with the adult entertainment industry?'” she recalls. “When I said yes, she said ‘We will not give you a loan.'”

Meanwhile, a former softcore porn producer in California is suing JPMorgan Chase after the bank refused to underwrite a loan for “moral reasons.”

The plaintiff — who actually sold his company several years ago — says it was the bank that had originally approached him about refinancing the loan, but after the refi got bogged down in months of delays, he eventually learned the truth.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the plaintiff states that Chase VP “finally informed plaintiff during a telephone conversation that plaintiff’s loan application was refused due to ‘moral reasons,’ because of JPMorgan’s disapproval of plaintiff’s former source of income and occupation as an owner of a television production company that produced television programs that dealt with the subject of human sexuality.”

He says the bank told him that Chase would be taking a “reputational risk” by going through with the loan.

“JPMorgan purports to be so ashamed of nudity and human sexuality that it cannot process a refinance of a home loan of plaintiff, secured by plaintiff’s house, because plaintiff’s source of income six years ago included production of television programs that contained nudity and human sexuality,” reads the complaint.

Unfortunately for folks in the adult industry, the banks may be fully within their rights to pick and choose who they deal with.

“The decision to open or maintain an account is up to the individual institution,” explains a rep for the FDIC. “The rules are not prescriptive, which means that the bank must make its own assessment to determine the risks associated with an account and whether that account should be terminated or not opened in the first place.”

It’s not just porn stars that have problem with opening bank accounts. Some banks have taken heat in recent years for deciding not to do business with gun sellers and manufacturers, while we recently wrote about licensed marijuana sellers in Colorado and Washington who have to pay their taxes and fees in cash because banks won’t allow them to open accounts.

It’s a little unclear to us what risk a bank might take in allowing someone in the adult industry to open an account or take out a loan — assuming he or she can provide proof of creditworthiness — especially at a time when many of us would probably rather be associated with skin flicks than the collapse of the American economy.