SPARTANBURG, S.C., Aug. 18, 2017: In a letter sent to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte earlier this week, the Justice Department acknowledged and committed to ending Operation Choke Point, an illegal coordinated regulatory effort started during the Obama Administration that uses strong-arm tactics to force banks to cut ties with specific regulated industries, including properly licensed short-term lenders operating in full compliance with the law. Jamie Fulmer, senior vice president of public affairs at Advance America, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to learn of this important development that reinforces the importance of the rule of law and the due process rights guaranteed to American businesses. It shines a harsh light on the destructive effects of federal government overreach. In fact, every day we still face the dire consequences of Operation Choke Point, including the loss of more than 20 banking relationships due to improper regulatory pressure, undercutting the foundation of our business and ability to reliably serve our customers.
“Now, banking regulators must follow the Justice Department’s lead to ensure that banking relationships and reputations are restored to the lawful industries unjustly harmed by Operation Choke Point. They must provide explicit guidance to banks that moving forward there should be no reservations to resume business with regulated, legal industries such as short-term lending. Finally, ahead of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s anticipated rule on short-term lending, we urge officials to address the toxic culture within federal government agencies that led to legal businesses being attacked and disadvantaged due to personal animus and political ideology.”
In June 2014, Advance America and other short-term lenders filed a lawsuit against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over Operation Choke Point. Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in July to allow discovery in the case, and it began July 20.