US regulators issue joint statement on AML requirements for the BSA

Regulators promise tough enforcement of AML requirements

The federal financial regulatory agencies have issued a statement setting forth their policy for enforcing specific anti-money laundering requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The purpose of the Interagency Statement on Enforcement of Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Requirements is to provide greater consistency among the agencies in enforcement decisions in BSA matters and to offer insight into the considerations that form the basis of those decisions.

The applicable statutes provide that if a regulated institution fails to establish and maintain a BSA compliance programme or fails to correct a previously identified problem with its BSA compliance programme, the appropriate agency shall issue a formal cease and desist order.

The statement, which reflects the agencies’ current practices on enforcement with respect to BSA compliance, describes the circumstances under which the agencies will issue a cease and desist order in compliance with these statutory provisions. The statement also makes clear that the agencies may take formal or informal enforcement actions to address other concerns related to BSA or anti-money laundering, depending on the facts.

The statement complements the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual, which was similarly designed to foster interagency consistency and transparency regarding the BSA examination process. The statement was issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration.

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