What’s the Issue?
Banks play a critical role in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes. To help thwart financial crimes, banks adhere to the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering laws, which instruct them on what information to collect from customers and share with law enforcement.
What’s the Challenge?
The basic BSA/AML compliance structure has not changed since 1970, even though banking law enforcement and technology have changed dramatically. There’s an opportunity to update BSA requirements to better support efforts to track illegal financial transactions. Those updates include:
- Creating a transparent, national database of business ownership information, so that banks can check who really owns a business (and thereby help stop shadow companies that initiate illegal transactions)
- Facilitating feedback from law enforcement to banks to let banks know whether the suspicious activity reports they produce are helpful to law enforcement.
How Does This Affect Me?
Anything that can be done to improve efficiencies in stopping financial crimes benefits law enforcement and ultimately helps keep our communities safer. If you’re a banker, updating BSA/AML requirements will streamline current reporting requirements and strengthen your working partnership with law enforcement.
The National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress in December 2020, included critical Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance reforms. The bill directs the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to establish and maintain a national registry of beneficial ownership information that will help to ease AML burdens for banks and help law enforcement in identifying financial criminals.