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State Regulators Crack Down On Local Ice Cream “Bank”

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com)

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The owner of a Pittsburgh ice cream parlor who operates like a bank by paying some customers “interest” in ice cream shop gift cards says state regulators are backing off now that he’s changed the name of the business and put a disclaimer on his website.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking in September wanted Ethan Clay to shut down the community bank he’s set up at his Oh Yeah! ice cream and coffee shop located in Shadyside.

Instead, Clay has changed the name of the bank to Whalebone Intergalactic Cafe Banco – removing the word “bank” from the original name – and added the web disclaimer that the business “is not a bank or member FDIC.”

At one point, Clay faced violations that could have cost him as much as $10,000, our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

State banking regulators wouldn’t comment on the changes to the newspaper, but Clay says they’ve backed off threats to close him down.

Clay tells the newspaper that although his business is not intended to be an actual bank, he hopes to bring the public “economic justice.”

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(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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