Porn, pot and payday lenders unwelcome in banks

USA By: Tad Lumpkin 11:54 am

(CNBC)- For most individuals and small business owners, having a relationship with a bank or credit union is as essential as basic utilities. You could no more open a restaurant without access to the payments system than you could without access to running water. Recently, though, there have been increasing reports of people learning that their accounts have been closed, or finding it difficult or impossible to open an account in the first place, because of the industry they work in, or who they are related to.

The most headline-grabbing examples of late have been porn stars. Adult film actor Teagan Presley and her husband, director Joshua Lehman went public with complaints about JP Morgan Chase closing both their business and personal accounts, allegedly because of their involvement in the adult entertainment industry. Others in the business have reported similar behavior by their banks.

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The banks’ moves appear to be linked to a government program, “Operation Choke Point,” meant to address fraud in the payments system by “choking off” access to businesses deemed to present a high risk of illegal activity. The problem is that the majority of the businesses that are being targets, while perhaps unsavory in the eyes of the government, aren’t illegal.

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SOURCE: Porn, pot and payday lenders unwelcome in bankshttp://www.cnbc.com/id/101684962

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