Press Releases

Luetkemeyer Introduces Legislation to Protect Customers from Operation Choke Point

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Washington, November 20, 2014 | comments
Continuing his commitment to end Operation Choke Point, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced legislation that would require federal banking agencies to put in writing any suggestion or order to terminate a customer’s banking account.
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Continuing his commitment to end Operation Choke Point, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced legislation that would require federal banking agencies to put in writing any suggestion or order to terminate a customer’s banking account.

This legislation, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, dictates that agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve cannot request or order a financial institution to terminate a banking relationship unless the regulator has material reason. In addition, Luetkemeyer’s legislation requires the federal banking agencies to issue a rule defining the term “reputation risk” and strikes the word “affecting” in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), replacing it with “by” or “against.” This change is to ensure that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) broad interpretations of the law are limited and the original intent of the statue is restored.

“This legislation is straightforward by stating that federal banking agencies must put in writing any suggestion to terminate a customer’s banking account and by requiring agencies to define terms by which they regularly use in the examination process, and by returning the powers vested in FIRREA to their original purpose,” Luetkemeyer said. “After receiving letters from the FDIC and DOJ just last week, stating the agencies own internal investigatory departments will investigate Operation Choke Point activities within their agencies, I am even more positive that with the introduction of this legislation, Congress will be able to work in a bipartisan fashion to quickly put an end to this program.”

Operation Choke Point is an operation in which the FDIC and DOJ intimidate financial institutions from offering financial services to certain licensed, legally-operating industries the government doesn’t like in an attempt to choke off those industries from our country’s banking system. These include the non-depository lending industry, ammunition and firearms sales, fireworks sales, coin dealers, debt collectors, tobacco sales, and pharmaceutical sales.

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