Just two weeks after the end of our IMTC USA 2015 Conference in Las Vegas, where we had a great panel on Bank Discontinuance entitled “Financial Access for the Money Transfer Industry – One step forward, two steps back? brilliantly moderated by Connie Fenchel with panelists Deborah Thoren-Peden from Pillsbury Law and Thomas Fleming from TF & Associates, the Republican leaders on the US House Financial Services Committee sent letters to the federal financial regulatory agencies asking to publicly disavow their “past, present, and future involvement in Operation Choke Point or any similar operation”. You can read the OCC letter here: http://bit.ly/1aP00Nu.

The letter requests the agencies that they must internally notify all employees on the agency’s policy for documenting and reporting recommendations advising Banks to terminate deposit account relationships. It also sets as an example FDIC’s 1/28/15 Financial Institution Letter stressing the fact that: “Any recommendation or order to terminate a deposit account must be made in writing,and approval by a regional director must be made in writing before being provided to and discussed with bank management and the board of directors. In addition, before a formal request is made and included in an examination report, the findings must be thoroughly vetted and approved through appropriate channels within the FDIC.”

The House letters to OCC, Federal Reserve, CFPB, etc. also state that by not later than April 15, 2015, they have to provide the House Financial Services Committee with the proposed timetable for complying with all of their requests.

These are certainly good news for the industry because it will empower banks to offer account services to MTOs and other MSBs knowing that if they do a good job in their risk-based approach to evaluate clients, the regulators will need to make a large effort to question the bank’s evaluating and monitoring standards.

In IMTC EMEA 2015, on May 26th, remittance expert and World Bank adviser Leon Isaacs will moderate a panel on the Bank Discontinuance issue in Europe and the impact of US Bank policies on the industry on the rest of the world.

A list of members of the House Financial Services Committee who signed the letters follows:

A list of members of the House Financial Services Committee who signed the letters follows:

  • Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  • Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
  • Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
  • Housing and Insurance Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
  • Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
  • Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI)