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CUNA Backs Senate Companion to Limit Choke Point
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 6:30 AM

A U.S. Senate bill that would limit federal banking regulators’ ability to restrict depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a relationship with specific customers unless certain criteria are met has the full support of the Credit Union National Association. The Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act of 2016 (S. 2790) is a companion to H.R. 766, which passed the House in February.

Specifically, the bill would place limits on the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point, which allows investigations of financial institutions and payment-processing companies to determine if they have enabled fraudulent activity by serving certain customers or members.

“While we strongly support the government’s role in ensuring the integrity of financial markets and eliminating fraud, the program’s broad enforcement tactics could create unnecessary risks to consumers and to the economy,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle.

In addition to limiting the ability of regulators to discourage or restrict financial institutions from a financial services relationship, S. 2790/H.R. 766 would require regulators to have a material reason for termination. The reason cannot be based solely on the reputational risk posed by the consumer.

“Credit unions are committed to maintaining the ability to serve their members while strictly following all laws and governing regulations. S. 2790 is a reasonable approach to preventing fraud and maintaining financial integrity without overreaching,” Nussle wrote.

The letter is addressed to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), who introduced S. 2790.