Two House committees have scheduled hearings this week on “Operation Choke Point,” the coordinated federal multiagency enforcement initiative targeting banks serving online payday lenders and other companies that have raised regulatory concerns. 

Tomorrow, July 15, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point.'”  The witnesses scheduled to appear are:

  • Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice
  • Scott G. Alvarez, General Counsel, Federal Reserve Board
  • Richard J. Osterman, Acting General Counsel, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Daniel P. Stipano, Deputy Chief Counsel, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 

On Thursday, July 17, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent? A Study of the Propriety & Legal Authority for the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.”  A witness list has not yet been posted on the Committee’s website.  

“Operation Choke Point” has recently come under fire in a critical staff report issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a payday industry lawsuit brought in Washington, D.C., federal court against the FDIC, the Fed and the OCC.  With regard to the CFPB’s role in “Operation Choke Point,” when asked during his appearance last month before the House Financial Services Committee whether the CFPB was working with the FDIC and Department of Justice, Director Cordray’s response was that the CFPB works regularly with the other agencies on issues involving “know your customer.”