FDIC withdraws list of “risky” businesses alleged to be targeted in “Operation Choke Point”

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In an unexpected move earlier this week, the FDIC issued a Financial Institution Letter announcing that it was withdrawing the list of “risky” merchant categories that was included in prior guidance on account relationships with third-party payment processors. Among the listed categories were payday loans and money transfer networks.

At the House Financial Services Committee hearing last week on “Operation Choke Point,” committee members voiced industry charges that FDIC examiners have been using the list to intimidate banks into terminating relationships with companies in the listed categories regardless of whether such companies were engaged in legitimate activities and operating lawfully.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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