Is Operation Choke Point really, truly officially dead? I work with a couple of high-risk businesses, not my specialty by a long shot. They are perfectly legitimate but getting processing relationships for them was a bear. Banks didn't want to go near them was the word I got. This was a couple years back. I'm hoping things will be smoother in the future when (if?) I try to board similar merchants. I've actually been avoiding them. Are we really going to be safe from government overreach?
Turner Greene, Merchant Level Salesperson
The end of Operation Choke Point (OCP) was conveyed in an Aug. 16, 2017, letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd to House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte, so you are correct: the anti-crime initiative that put extreme (some called it draconian) pressure on banks and payment processors to deny services to select high-risk, cash-dependent businesses is gone. OCP assumed those business categories were prone to illegal activities and posed reputational risks to banks.
"Ordinarily speaking, law enforcement moves from the specific to the general," Boyd wrote in the August 2017 letter. "A bad actor is identified and then gradually the net widens to capture co-conspirators or a larger criminal enterprise. OCP started by presuming a whole industry guilty until individual merchants prove their innocence."
That presumption rankled people on both sides of the aisle. However, it's impossible to predict what shifts in policy will occur as leaders with contrasting views come and go in Washington. The good news is that reputable companies exist that are highly skilled in working with high-risk merchants, helping them navigate whatever the current challenges are. To learn more about overcoming the challenges high-risk merchants pose, access our archives via the Search function at www.greensheet.com. You'll find informative articles on this topic written by industry experts.
Do you have new strategies or initiatives for 2018? Are you making big changes or basically tweaking what you already have?
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