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Recent Washington, DC Meetings Focus on “Operation Choke Point” and Dodd-Frank Reform

Thursday, July 13, 2017

by David Tente

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) today reports that a full day of recent meetings with key House Financial Services Committee members and staff was very productive.  Principal topics throughout the day included a decisive end to Operation Choke Point and meaningful reform of Dodd-Frank.  The meetings were organized by EFTA President and CEO, Kurt Helwig, who also serves as the Chairman of ATMIA’s Board of Directors.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, confirmed his commitment to ending Operation Choke Point.  His Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act measure was re-filed a few weeks ago, but no hearings have been held yet.  Luetkemeyer thinks that most of the remaining impetus for this destructive activity is coming from the Comptroller’s Office.  Pressure being put on ATM operator’s banks is primarily in the form of veiled threats of possible punitive actions.  Since the FDIC has rules which require such “threats” to be in writing, the Congressman suggests that banks should be pushing back.

Complicating all of this further is the fact that the Senate has dramatically slowed down the pace of staff confirmations.  It will likely take another six months to replace mid-level managers from the previous administration.  Marty Gold, Partner at Capital Counsel and a recognized expert on parliamentary procedures provided meeting attendees with a detailed explanation of how Senate rules were being used to delay these confirmations.

Additional meetings were held separately with Congressman Barry Laudermilk (R-GA) and Kevin Edgar (Chief Counsel for the House Financial Services Committee).  All three are supporters of the CHOICE Act – a bill that would pare back and reform much of Dodd-Frank.  ATMIA U.S. Executive Director, David Tente, expressed concerns for its impact on the creation of new community banks – which are critical resources for the ATM industry.  Before Dodd-Frank, new federally chartered banks were being created at the rate of about 100 per year.  Since Dodd-Frank, only two charters have been granted and, on average, one existing community bank disappears every day.

A full report on the meetings is available for download from the ATMIA website.  For more information about ATMIA’s advocacy activities, contact David Tente.

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