From the Web: ‘It’s Back: The Political Struggle for Control of Banks’ Loan Taps’

Report shows industries continue to be impacted by terminated banking services while pending Office of the Comptroller of the Currency rule seeks to stop the problem.

1/11/2021 3:30 PM

NewsAdvocacy
From the Web: ‘It’s Back: The Political Struggle for Control of Banks’ Loan Taps’

As industries await a final rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on access to banking services, an article from RealClearInvestigations shows the practice that prompted the proposed rule and bipartisan legislation over the years is still happening.

For background, the proposed rule from the OCC would ensure fair access to banking services for several industries—including debt collection—previously cut off during the controversial Obama-era program Operation Choke Point, ACA International previously reported.

ACA submitted comments on the proposed rule, which were due Jan. 4, and according to RealClearInvestigations reporter John Hirschauer, it could be finalized this week.

“The proposed Fair Access to Financial Services Rule (FAFSR) is a response to successful pressure campaigns waged by environmental groups and congressional Democrats, which culminated in every major American bank refusing to finance drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), despite such drilling being authorized by President Trump in 2017,” Hirschauer reports.

The drilling projects are at the center of conflicts showing how cutting off banking services for certain legal—but controversial—industries are being used to advance the agendas of groups that disagree with their work.  

In January last year, a group of Senate Democrats sent a letter to top American banks requesting that they “stop financial” for oil and gas drilling projects, according to the article, and the banks obliged.

This ultimately led to the OCC’s proposed rule to not only end the “standoff” between lawmakers and the drilling industry, “but to ensure that other businesses ‘involved in politically controversial but lawful’ industries are not excluded from capital markets,” Hirschauer reports.

The OCC received industry comments in favor of the Fair Access Rule.

Ending Operation Choke Point and limiting banking services based on “reputational risk” was among ACA’s advocacy priorities in the 116th Congress and years earlier as members continue to be affected.

In an interview with Hirschauer, OCC Spokesperson Bryan Hubbard said that “the rule codifies longstanding OCC guidance on banks’ obligation to provide equitable access to their services, and will ensure that banks are not ‘terminating entire categories of customers.’”

“Banks have a duty, Hubbard said, to provide proportionate access to financial services, even for clients involved in legal but politically controversial industries,” Hirschauer reports.

What now?

According to the article, if the rule is published in the Federal Register before President Donald Trump’s last day in office, it could face challenges under the Congressional Review Act from Democrats who oppose the proposal.

The CRA allows for 60 days for Congress to overturn a rule by a simple majority vote.

“Despite the fact that they are highly regulated and their work helps ensure a functioning economy, ACA members have been unfairly targeted by Operation Choke Point and other similar efforts for the past several years, which have led to banking relationship terminations,” said ACA Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey in the comments to the OCC.

ACA will continue to follow the status of the rule and advocate for members on the issue.

Read the complete RealClearInvestigations report here.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

From the Web: ‘It’s Back: The Political Struggle for Control of Banks’ Loan Taps’

As industries await a final rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on access to banking services, an article from RealClearInvestigations shows the practice that prompted the proposed rule and bipartisan legislation over the years is still happening.

For background, the proposed rule from the OCC would ensure fair access to banking services for several industries—including debt collection—previously cut off during the controversial Obama-era program Operation Choke Point, ACA International previously reported.

ACA submitted comments on the proposed rule, which were due Jan. 4, and according to RealClearInvestigations reporter John Hirschauer, it could be finalized this week.

“The proposed Fair Access to Financial Services Rule (FAFSR) is a response to successful pressure campaigns waged by environmental groups and congressional Democrats, which culminated in every major American bank refusing to finance drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), despite such drilling being authorized by President Trump in 2017,” Hirschauer reports.

The drilling projects are at the center of conflicts showing how cutting off banking services for certain legal—but controversial—industries are being used to advance the agendas of groups that disagree with their work.  

In January last year, a group of Senate Democrats sent a letter to top American banks requesting that they “stop financial” for oil and gas drilling projects, according to the article, and the banks obliged.

This ultimately led to the OCC’s proposed rule to not only end the “standoff” between lawmakers and the drilling industry, “but to ensure that other businesses ‘involved in politically controversial but lawful’ industries are not excluded from capital markets,” Hirschauer reports.

The OCC received industry comments in favor of the Fair Access Rule.

Ending Operation Choke Point and limiting banking services based on “reputational risk” was among ACA’s advocacy priorities in the 116th Congress and years earlier as members continue to be affected.

In an interview with Hirschauer, OCC Spokesperson Bryan Hubbard said that “the rule codifies longstanding OCC guidance on banks’ obligation to provide equitable access to their services, and will ensure that banks are not ‘terminating entire categories of customers.’”

“Banks have a duty, Hubbard said, to provide proportionate access to financial services, even for clients involved in legal but politically controversial industries,” Hirschauer reports.

What now?

According to the article, if the rule is published in the Federal Register before President Donald Trump’s last day in office, it could face challenges under the Congressional Review Act from Democrats who oppose the proposal.

The CRA allows for 60 days for Congress to overturn a rule by a simple majority vote.

“Despite the fact that they are highly regulated and their work helps ensure a functioning economy, ACA members have been unfairly targeted by Operation Choke Point and other similar efforts for the past several years, which have led to banking relationship terminations,” said ACA Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey in the comments to the OCC.

ACA will continue to follow the status of the rule and advocate for members on the issue.

Read the complete RealClearInvestigations report here.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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