BSA/AML resource-sharing statement shared via agency letters to banks, CUs

A recent joint agency statement on resource-sharing as a way to better manage Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) programs was forwarded individually by regulators to the institutions they supervise – most noting that such collaboration is permissible, and one pointing out that it’s not a requirement.

The agencies, along with Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), jointly issued a statement Oct. 3 to explain the benefits of such collaboration, and to explain what types of resources can be shared, to make their BSA/AML programs more efficient.

The statement – by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) – provides examples of functions that may be conducted utilizing shared resources. These might include: 1) reviewing, updating, and drafting BSA/AML policies and procedures; 2) reviewing and developing risk-based customer identification and account monitoring processes; and 3) tailoring monitoring systems and reports for the risks posed.

“Collaborative arrangements should be designed and implemented in accordance with the level and nature of money laundering and terrorist financing risk present in the bank,” according to FDIC’s Financial Institution Letter FIL-55-2018.

“The principles contained in this statement apply to all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies,” the OCC said in its Bulletin 2018-36.

NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters, in Letter 18-CU-04, said such collaborative arrangements “may benefit some credit unions, especially smaller institutions which may find hiring or retaining staff with the necessary knowledge a challenge.”

The Fed, which distributed its letter via the Federal Reserve Banks, noted that the statement “does not alter existing BSA/AML legal or regulatory requirements, nor does it establish a supervisory expectation that banks engage in such collaborative arrangements.”

“This joint statement is part of a broader effort to work closely with our regulatory partners to strengthen the anti-money laundering defenses across the U.S. financial system,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in an announcement.

Federal Reserve Board Supervision and Regulation Letter (SR-18-8)

NCUA Letter to Credit Unions (18-CU-04)

FDIC Financial Institution Letter (FIL-55-2018)

OCC Bulletin (Bulletin 2018-36)

FinCEN announcement