Luetkemeyer Calls for End to OCC’s ‘Choke Point’ Involvement

In a letter to the OCC yesterday, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) took the agency to task for its continued involvement in the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point, which seeks to curtail disfavored businesses by working through regulators to pressure financial institutions to end customer relationships. Luetkemeyer called on the OCC to issue formal standards to ensure that regulators do not unduly pressure banks into making derisking decisions.

“Despite comments that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is concerned about derisking and has never nor will ever use its authority to pressure financial institutions into dropping customers, I continue to hear from OCC-regulated banks… that regulatory pressure is the primary reason for account terminations,” Luetkemeyer wrote.

The House in February passed the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2016, a bipartisan bill intended to require greater transparency from regulators when requesting account terminations. Luetkemeyer pointed out that the FDIC has already taken steps to institute such standards.