WASHINGTON (2/5/16)--The U.S. House voted Thursday to pass a Credit Union National Association (CUNA)-backed bill to limit the federal initiative that restricts depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a financial services relationship with specific customers by insisting certain criteria are first met.
The bill is aimed at the Department of Justice’s controversial Operation Choke Point. That program allows investigations of financial institutions and payment-processing companies to determine if they have enabled fraudulent activity by taking on certain customers or members.
In advance of the vote, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to all House members urging passage of the bill, the Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 766). It was approved 250-169.
“Credit unions are committed to maintaining the ability to serve their members while strictly following all laws and governing regulations,” Nussle wrote. He called H.R. 766 "a reasonable approach to preventing fraud and maintaining financial integrity without overreaching."
“The legislation would limit regulators’ ability to pressure financial institutions to terminate customer accounts, requiring regulators to have a material reason for termination that is not based solely on the reputational risk posed by the customer before pressuring the financial institution to close the account,” the CUNA leader noted.
Further, Nussle warned lawmakers, the DOJ program has created unnecessary risks both to consumers and to the economy.