FDIC Letter Does Not Spell the End of Operation Choke Point

posted February 5, 2015

Brian Wise, Senior Advisor for the US Consumer Coalition (USCC), issued the following statement today in response to the FDIC’s Financial Institution Letter (FIL) with regards to providing banking services to “high-risk” merchants:

“The real threat from Operation Choke Point never came from the official guidance delivered through financial institutions letters issued by the FDIC. Operation Choke Point uses the bank examination process to intimidate banks into ending relationships with so-called ‘high-risk’ merchants. The guidance in the FIL means nothing if examiners do not stop their intimidation of banks during the examination process, a fact that was proven in the audio tapes of Heritage Credit Union we obtained and released last month. We should expect that those examinations will become even more aggressive while the FDIC does everything in their power to quell the public scrutiny of this program. We know this because the same week that the FIL came out from the FDIC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) put out a warning to banks threatening them not to disclose anything about the examination process. This warning amounts to witness intimidation and witness tampering, and demonstrates that Operation Choke Point is no where close to being over. Those claiming victory right now are woefully misinformed.”

Rob Damschen
(202) 617-6155