French bank, its New York branch, cited for falling short on anti-money laundering efforts

A French bank based in Paris, and a branch of the same institution in New York, was presented with a cease and desist order for continued violations of U.S. anti-money-laundering laws, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.

Société Générale S.A., of Paris – and its branch in New York City – were served with the order after examinations by the Federal Reserve and state authorities found that the bank failed to achieve “full compliance” with a written agreement reached in 2009 among the bank, the Fed and the New York State Department of Financial Services.

According to the Fed, a 2016 examination of the bank branch conducted by the New York Federal Reserve Bank “identified deficiencies in the Branch’s risk management and compliance with applicable federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).”

In its cease and desist order, the Fed said its requiring the bank and its branch to (within 60 days): submit a written governance plan to enhance the bank’s oversight of the branch’s BSA/AML compliance program; retain an independent third party acceptable to conduct a comprehensive review of the branch’s BSA/AML, and prepare a written report of findings, conclusions, and recommendations; develop and implement an enhanced customer due diligence program; implement a program to monitor and report suspicious activity.

In other action, the Fed announced it was terminating an enforcement action (“Prompt Corrective Action” to increase its capital) against Cecil Bank, of Elkton, Md., which was imposed more than two years ago.

Federal Reserve Board issues enforcement action with Société Générale S.A. and announces termination of enforcement action with Cecil Bank