OFAC Publishes Sanctions Compliance Guidance

As anticipated, the Office of Foreign Assets Control today issued compliance guidelines to help banks develop appropriate sanctions compliance programs. The guidance emphasizes the importance of a risk-based approach to sanctions for the development, implementation and updating of a sanctions compliance program. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker announced that OFAC was in the process of developing the guidance at the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference in December.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, since each bank’s sanctions compliance program will depend on a variety of factors, the guidance notes that every program should include five essential elements: management commitment; risk assessment; internal controls; testing and auditing; and training. As it has done previously, OFAC will consider a bank’s sanctions compliance program when imposing any penalties for a sanctions violation, the guidance said.