ABA, Trade Groups Call for National Beneficial Ownership Registry

As the House Financial Services Committee today held a hearing on the financial crime, the American Bankers Association joined eight other financial trade organizations in a letter to committee leaders highlighting the need for a national beneficial ownership registry.

While banks are required to collect the beneficial ownership information of their customers, the groups noted that the lack of a single, centralized federal registry that could be used to verify that information “represents a significant gap in the U.S. regulatory system that allows criminals, money launderers, kleptocrats and terrorist financiers to obscure their identities from law enforcement.”

In addition, the groups urged lawmakers to pursue reforms to the current anti-money laundering framework that would bring greater clarity and simplicity for banks. Specifically, the groups called for reforms that would better align the examination and compliance framework with national AML/CFT priorities; facilitate information sharing between financial institutions and law enforcement; update and streamline reporting requirements; and encourage the use of technology and artificial intelligence in support of AML efforts.