SunTrust Bank is cutting ties with three types of legal businesses in the latest evidence of the Obama administration’s secretive crusade against “objectionable” enterprises.
SunTrust, which counts more than 400,000 small business clients, cited “compliance requirements” as its reason for closing accounts with “payday lenders, pawn shops and dedicated check-cashers.”
“It is consistent with long-standing industry practice to review relationships to ensure they satisfy a range of business and risk considerations,” the bank said in a little-noticed press release dated Aug. 8.
In the same blanket notice, however, SunTrust underlined its support for maintaining bank relationships with licensed gun sellers.
Gun dealers, as The Daily Signal previously reported, are among legal businesses targeted in the Justice Department-coordinated initiative known as Operation Choke Point.
The bank said:
SunTrust fully supports all of the rights that Americans are granted under the Constitution, and we continue to maintain banking relationships with licensed firearms dealers.
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Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, suggested that SunTrust released the statement to make clear that the bank is under duress by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as part of Operation Choke Point.
“This admission from SunTrust demonstrates that Operation Choke Point has not ended, but actually expanded while becoming even less transparent,” Calabria said. “More banks should come forward publicly.”
According to a House committee report, the FDIC, under direction of the Justice Department, has pressured banks and other financial institutions to sever ties to a variety of legal businesses that the Obama administration considers objectionable.
The apparent goal of Operation Choke Point is to deny “high risk” merchants and entrepreneurs access to the banking and payment networks they need to survive.
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