The American Bankers Association joined eight financial trade associations in a letter of strong support for the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes several critical improvements to anti-money laundering rules. Among other things, the bill directs the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to establish and maintain a national registry of beneficial ownership information that banks may in turn rely on when complying with customer due diligence requirements.
In a letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders, the groups called for immediate passage of the bill, acknowledging the bipartisan effort to include these important AML provisions. “For years, this group has worked with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders to draft legislation to address the deficiencies in the AML/CFT framework and prevent the abuse of shell companies to launder money by cloaking the identities of their beneficial owners from law enforcement,” the letter said, adding that the provisions have gained the support “of an ideologically diverse coalition, including financial services, law enforcement, anti-corruption, and small business groups.”
ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols also applauded the inclusion of the AML provisions in the final bill in a statement last night. “Creating a secure beneficial ownership registry of legal entities at FinCEN will promote transparency and make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and other bad actors to access the financial system,” he said. “Other key provisions in the legislation will help banks provide law enforcement with better information to detect and prevent financial crime. We strongly support this bill which will strengthen America’s national security, and we urge Congress to quickly pass the NDAA.”