PH Financial Services CEO: Defending my business from the federal government
By Bob Zeitler
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bob Zeitler, CEO of PH Financial Solutions and member of CFSA operating out of Fenton, MO, echoed Lynn's sentiment about the CFPB in an op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and described how a covert federal campaign known as "Operation Choke Point" attacked his legal business.
"I have worked in the short-term loan industry for 30 years, operating more than 60 centers across seven states, where my co-workers and I serve up to 25,000 hardworking Americans each year. Recently, the difficulty in keeping banking relationships has caused us to shut down 12 loan centers. The most recent banking relationship loss occurred in January 2016, when U.S. Bank sent me a 12-day notice stating they would be closing our account with no explanation. This is not a faceless government program; Operation Choke Point deliberately attacks regulated businesses such as mine based on the personal biases of unelected bureaucrats.
We might never have known what caused the bank's sudden decision had a congressional investigation not uncovered the existence of Operation Choke Point. Internal FDIC memos obtained by the House Financial Services Committee revealed that government officials held a personal vendetta against the payday lending industry. The committee discovered that the agencies were pressuring banks to cut off services to businesses like mine, despite the fact that we are state-licensed and have an excellent record of compliance.
While Operation Choke Point threatens to take down my business secretly, another federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, proposed a new federal rule that will likely shut down the entire regulated short-term lending industry, and leave millions of consumers with fewer credit options. As it developed its proposed rule, the law required that the CFPB gather input on how the rule would affect small businesses - in spite of the bureau itself estimating a 70 percent cut in business revenue for short-term lenders. I was selected by the bureau to serve on a small-business review panel and report on the potential impact of the rule. However, from the very start it was clear that the CFPB had already made up its mind about my industry."