ABA Makes Recommendations for Improving AML Rules

As the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network works to update its anti-money laundering framework, the American Bankers Association today urged FinCEN to continue working with regulators, law enforcement and the financial sector to keep up with evolving financial products, technologies and developments related to illicit finance. In a comment letter responding to a request for information about modernizing current AML rules, ABA noted that financial institutions spend billions of dollars annually on their anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism programs, but noted that current rules and compliance obligations are “outdated and ill-suited for identifying and preventing 21st-century criminal activity and terrorist financing.”

ABA also told FinCEN that while advances in technology have led to beneficial financial products and services, they also have created opportunities for new illicit finance that “the existing framework may be poorly suited to identify and prevent.”

ABA made several recommendations for FinCEN to consider as it contemplates updates to the current AML regime. Among other things, ABA encouraged the agency to continue providing advisories to help banks identify possible illicit activity, but also to collect all advisories in guidance in one easily accessible location to make them easier to use. ABA also recommended the agency take steps to update and streamline the current reporting systems and reexamine the currency transaction report system as well as the suspicious acting reporting system. ABA also urged FinCEN to update the rules under Patriot Act to make it easier for banks to share information.