USAA FSB hit with $140 million in penalties over ‘willful’ BSA violations

A combined $140 million in civil money penalties was imposed against USAA Federal Savings Bank (FSB) in consent orders Thursday that cited the bank for Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) violations, among them the failure to timely report suspicious activity by its customers – including those reportedly using their accounts for “apparent criminal activity.”

The $140 million in penalties includes $80 million assessed by the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and another $60 million assessed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the orders show.

FinCEN, in a release, said the bank admitted that it willfully failed to implement and maintain an anti‑money laundering (AML) program that met the minimum requirements of the BSA from at least January 2016 through April 2021. It said the bank also admitted that it willfully failed to accurately and timely report thousands of suspicious transactions to FinCEN.

The OCC order said the bank’s BSA/AML deficiencies include inadequate internal controls and risk management practices; suspicious activity identification, evaluation, and reporting; staffing; training; and third-party risk management, “among others.” It said USAA failed to correct problems previously raised and failed to file timely suspicious activity reports (SARs).

FinCEN noted that USAA made commitments in 2018 to correct its problems by the end of March 2020, failed to make adequate progress, then extended its target to the end of June 2021. “To date, the Bank has not met all of the terms of the 2018 Commitments,” the agency said.

FinCEN Announces $140 Million Civil Money Penalty against USAA Federal Savings Bank for Violations of the Bank Secrecy Act

OCC Assesses $60 Million Civil Money Penalty, Issues Cease and Desist Order Against USAA