DOJ Announces Termination of Operation Chokepoint Initiative
The National ATM Council, Inc. (NAC) was heartened by last week's pronouncement from the Administration, and more specifically the Department of Justice (DOJ), in response to a recent letter from top Congressional leaders, that Operation Chokepoint (OCP) was a "misguided initiative" and that "All of the Department's bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect and it will not be undertaken again."
While NAC is hopeful that this latest DOJ statement and philosophy will filter down to the bank examiners - and most importantly to the banks themselves - this remains to be seen. Undoubtedly, the work of phasing out OCP and phasing back in access to ATM company bank accounts will require continued efforts on the part of NAC and our industry. The Association will continue its work of the past two years with the banks and regulators, to help ensure this latest pronouncement from DOJ translates into the restoration of access to banking for Independent/Retail ATM providers.
In the wake of this "watershed" repudiation of OCP by DOJ, we should pause to recognize and thank those many dedicated ATM companies and vendors who traveled on their own dime to DC last month to lobby for an end to OCP. Sincere thanks are also in order for Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Chairman of the Financial Industries & Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, whose leadership and support in seeking an end to the OCP program has been exemplary.
NAC's recent "ATMs Go To Washington" initiative - blanketing Congress and the bank regulators on this issue - certainly played a role in last week's DOJ announcement. However, we will reserve our celebration and not rest easy until all ATM ISO/IADs actually have access to bank accounts restored. NAC will now turn our full focus and attention to the regulators and banks - in pursuit of having the scores of recently closed ATM bank accounts reopened...and ensuring that reasonable access to the U.S. banking system for ATM ISOs/IADs once again becomes a reality in the U.S.
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