Chase Bank employees denied to Al Jazeera and other national media outlets on Thursday reports that the bank had closed hundreds of porn industry professionals’ personal and business accounts in recent weeks. Chase had not officially or unofficially addressed the matter before.
“We routinely exit customers for a variety of reasons. The consumer bank has no policy that would prevent a consumer from having a bank account by virtue of affiliation with industry,” the source, who asked to only be identified as someone “close to the matter,” told Al Jazeera.
Still, the Chase employee acknowledged that adult entertainment industry professionals’ accounts had been closed, saying that contrary to reports, only “a handful” and not hundreds of accounts had been shutdown.
Mother Jones earlier Thursday reported having heard the same response, also from a Chase employee who only wished to be quoted as an “insider” in a controversy that has garnered national media criticism, not just of Chase but also of a number of other financial institutions like PayPal that in recent years closed porn industry professionals’ accounts.
PayPal did not respond to a second request for comment on allegations that it had closed porn professionals’ accounts without clear explanation.
The Chase employee refuted rumors that the closures were part of an initiative called “Operation Choke Point,” a push launched by the federal government in 2013 to stop banks from dealing with clients they believe are at high-risk for fraud.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with Operation Choke Point,” the source said.
The Chase employee declined to elaborate on what appeared to be a prepared statement, read over the phone.
The Justice Department declined to comment to Al Jazeera on allegations regarding Operation Choke Point.
Adult entertainment trade association the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has opposed the account closures.
“In this day and age, for any bank to claim the moral high-ground is laughable,” FSC CEO Diane Duke told Al Jazeera.