Bill Would Limit Regulators’ Ability to Restrict Financial Relationships

A Senate bill, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (S. 3003) strikes the correct balance between combating fraud and maintaining financial institution integrity, CUNA wrote Tuesday to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Joining Cruz as co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Kennedy (R-LA.), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

The bill would limit Federal banking regulators’ ability to discourage or restrict depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a financial services relationship with specific customers unless certain criteria are met.

“While we strongly support the government’s role in ensuring the integrity of financial markets and eliminating fraud, the Operation Choke Point program’s broad enforcement tactics may have created unnecessary risks to consumers and to the economy,” the letter reads. “Credit unions are committed to maintaining the ability to serve their members while strictly following all laws and governing regulations. S. 3003 is a reasonable approach to preventing fraud and maintaining financial integrity without overreaching.”

Operation Choke Point restricted depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a financial services relationship with specific customers by insisting certain criteria are first met. The Department of Justice under President Donald Trump announced early in his administration it would end the program.