In 116th Congress, Missouri’s Luetkemeyer Continues Efforts to End Operation Choke Point
The congressman reintroduced legislation to end the program impacting banking services for debt collectors.
1/8/2019 3:00 PM
Days after the start of the 116th Congress, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., reintroduced legislation to implement requirements for federal banking agencies terminating services to certain customer accounts while ending Operation Choke Point.
The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2019 is among Luetkemeyer’s efforts to end the controversial Obama-era program in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly applied pressure to financial institutions to cut off financial services to certain licensed, legally operating industries, including debt collection.
The legislation would require federal banking agencies to provide banks or credit unions written justification of any request to terminate or restrict a customer’s account, except in instances of national security. The legislation would also require each federal banking regulator to report annually on the number of requests to terminate customer accounts that the FDIC, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve had made to a bank.
In November, Luetkemeyer extended his recent call for an investigation into Operation Choke Point to regulatory agencies that have denied knowledge or involvement in the program, ACA International previously reported.
“For the last five years, I have fought to end Operation Choke Point and root out abuses at federal financial agencies,” Luetkemeyer said in a news release. “My bill is a concrete solution to a bipartisan problem facing legal business owners across the nation. I hope my House and Senate colleagues will advance this important legislation to ensure regulation is never again borne of personal biases or political motivations.”
ACA International has continuously advocated for the end of Operation Choke Point by supporting legislation policy changes in an unanimous vote by the Board of Directors in April 2015 and plans to meet with Luetkemeyer’s staff in January. ACA members have also reported that banking relationships have continued to be unfairly terminated in certain instances despite the DOJ’s commitment to end the program.
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