FinCEN Considering BSA Changes to Improve Effectiveness of AML Programs

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is seeking public feedback on potential changes to the Bank Secrecy Act that would enhance the overall effectiveness of banks’ anti-money laundering programs. The changes—which were outlined in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking—are the result of a months-long effort by members of FinCEN’s Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group, including the American Bankers Association.

The proposal would provide banks greater flexibility with respect to the allocation of resources and greater alignment of AML priorities across industries and government. Specifically, the amendments would clarify that for an AML program to be considered “effective and reasonably designed,” it should assess and manage risk according to the institution’s own risk assessment process; provide for compliance with BSA requirements; and provide for the reporting of information with a high degree of usefulness to government authorities. The proposal would also create a mechanism to establish a set of national law enforcement priorities to help guide banks with their risk assessments and resource allocation.

FinCEN is also seeking input on whether to impose an explicit requirement for a risk assessment process and whether FinCEN’s director should issue a list of national AML priorities every two years. Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.