On Oct. 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB) (FinCEN and the FRB
In the last decade, traditional financial institutions such as banks and broker-dealers have faced increased scrutiny from federal regulators and prosecutors related to the adequacy of their anti-money laundering (AML)…
Continue Reading AML Compliance Scrutiny of Virtual Currency Services in 2020 and Beyond
When Jennifer Shasky-Calvery, at the time the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), addressed attendees at G2E 2013, she brought a stern message to the industry. She called…
Continue Reading 10 TRENDS: Getting Better All the Time
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) recently released new guidance on the process it uses when considering enforcement actions against banking institutions and individuals for potential non-compliance with Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) compliance program requirements and anti-money laundering (“AML”) rules. At the same time, the OCC also issued a revised policy for assessing civil monetary penalties against both institutions and individuals for compliance violations. The revised policy makes clear that the OCC intends to use the threat of monetary penalties to hold individuals – compliance officers, managers, executives, directors, or any employee of a banking institution – accountable for compliance violations. Compliance with BSA/AML programs is not simply an institutional or bank-only issue; responsibility for ensuring compliance with these programs rests with Boards of Directors, management and individual compliance personnel. Additionally, compliance is not merely a regulatory concern; the recent OCC guidance also makes clear that the OCC will notify criminal law enforcement authorities (including FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) of “all formal and informal enforcement actions” pursued by the regulators.
The OCC has a statutory mandate to issue a cease-and-desist order when problems or weaknesses in a bank’s compliance systems and controls rise to the level of noncompliance with BSA requirements or result in repeat or uncorrected compliance issues. In addition to a mandatory cease-and-desist order, the OCC may also pursue civil monetary penalties (“CMP”). The OCC’s process generally allows notice and an opportunity to respond within 15 days of written notice of noncompliance to either an institution or individual. The OCC’s new guidance sets forth the process by which a bank or an individual may respond to a notice of noncompliance.